Online sales accounted for approximately one-fifth of total retail revenue generated last year. As a good side of the COVID-19 pandemic, e-commerce all around the world has hiked to $26.7 trillion in 2019, and increased from 16 to 19 percent of total retail sales in 2020, according to a report released on Monday (May 3) by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
With U.S. dominating the overall e-commerce market, followed by countries like Japan and China. Moreover, Korea posted the biggest increase in online retail sales in 2020 — 25.9 percent, up from 20.8 percent in 2019. The country’s online sales went from roughly 1 in 5 transactions in 2019 to more than 1 in 4 in 2020. Digital sales were up in several countries, with worldwide eCommerce up 4 percent from 2019, per the report. China had a 24.9% share increasing from 20.7% the year prior, and the United States surged from 11% to 14.0%. Furthermore, Online transactions in the U.K. went up by 23.3 percent over the previous year’s 15.8 percent.
“These statistics show the growing importance of online activities,” Shamika Sirimanne, UNCTAD’s director of technology and logistics, said in a UN press release. “They also point to the need for countries, especially developing ones, to have such information as they rebuild their economies in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
On the other hand, while e-commerce firms got a boost from the pandemic, digital platform firms in the rideshare and travel space experienced a steep drop in gross merchandise value (GMV). Companies in the service space also saw declines in GMV. For instance, Expedia fell from 5th place in 2019 rankings to 11th in 2020, Booking Holdings from 6th to 12th, and Airbnb, which launched its initial public offering in 2020, from 11th to 13th,”, according to the report.
However, China’s Alibaba remained atop the rankings by GMV, followed by Amazon in the United States.
Despite the drop in services companies, the total GMV for the top 13 B2C e-commerce companies rose by 20.5% to $2.9 trillion in 2020, outpacing the 17.9% gain in 2019.