Benchmarking Adoption of E-commerce across the G20 Members

Publication | February 2023
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Emerging market economies are severely affected by inadequate infrastructure, digital illiteracy, and low use of digital payments by enterprises.

The COVID-19 situation has accelerated the adoption of e-commerce across the world. While, globally, there has been an increase in the share of e-commerce in total retail sales, there are variations in e-commerce adoption across countries and the difference is obtrusive when one compares developed countries and emerging market economies. We undertake a comparative assessment of e-commerce adoption by the G20 countries and, in doing so, it benchmarks the G20 members across different indicators that determine e-commerce adoption. Based on secondary data, we present some stylized facts, discuss the regulatory scenario with respect to e-commerce in G20 countries, and identify key constraints to e-commerce adoption in the comparatively poor performers.

It is found that, overall, most emerging market economies are not very well prepared to support e-commerce adoption. Rather, compared to the developed countries, emerging market economies perform poorly on indicators related to access and use of digital technology, financial inclusion, postal reliability, and electronic security. We found that the emerging market economies are severely affected by inadequate infrastructure, digital illiteracy, and low use of digital payments by enterprises. 

Whereas there is no dearth of regulations on e-commerce business, nevertheless a uniform approach for regulating e-commerce operations is missing in the case of some countries. Moreover, different countries have different positions with respect to data privacy and protection. We recommend that G20 members work together to bridge the adoption gap, enhance micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) participation in e-commerce through enhanced financial assistance, build cooperation for adopting common standards, and encourage countries to adopt national policies with the vision to promote e-commerce.

WORKING PAPER 1355
 

Additional Details

Authors
Type
Series
Subjects
  • Industry and trade
  • Information and Communications Technology
Countries
  • China, People's Republic of
  • India
  • Japan
  • Korea, Republic of