UNCTAD: Another Look at E-Commerce Readiness
Posted on April 14th, 2015

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) included postal delivery services among four indicators to measure the e-commerce readiness of 130 economies. The UNCTAD B2C E-Commerce Index 2014 ranked countries based on Internet use, secure servers, credit card penetration, and postal delivery services, and Luxembourg, Norway, Finland, Canada and Sweden held the five highest rankings. Australia, which topped The Economist’s 2014 e-Trade Readiness Index, was sixth on the UNCTAD index.
 
UNCTAD notes that e-commerce is an increasingly important topic on the international development agenda.  Constraints on ecommerce in the developing world include:
  • economic barriers, such as inadequate ICT infrastructure and use, unreliable and costly power supply, limited use of credit cards, lack of purchasing power, and underdeveloped financial systems;
  • sociopolitical barriers, such as weak legal and regulatory frameworks, which influence the level of trust in online transactions; and
  • cultural preferences, such as a strong preference for face-to-face interaction or for cash transactions.
China, which is the largest global marketplace when measured both by online buyers and revenue, ranked 65th on the UNCTAD index, in part because only 8.2 percent of the population hold credit cards. The United Kingdom ranked ninth and the United States held the 15th slot.


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