Switzerland Bags the Top Spot in United Nation’s B2C E-Commerce Index in 2020

Switzerland Bags the Top Spot in United Nation’s B2C E-Commerce Index in 2020

by March 11, 2021
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For the first time, Switzerland leads the Business-to-Consumer (B2C) e-commerce Index, an annual list by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) which ranks 152 countries on their readiness to support and engage in online commerce.

The 2020 index, which takes into consideration indicators including account ownership at a financial institutions or mobile-money service provider, internet usage, and postal reliability, puts Switzerland on top of the list, recognising the country for its high scores across all four indicators.

Most of the Swiss population (97% in 2019) uses the internet, and Switzerland has a high banking penetration rate (98% in 2017) and banking coverage, the report says.

The country ranks 5th in the world in the index in secure server density, a proxy for online shops in the country, and according to the Swiss Distance Selling Association, there were at least 250 web shops with online sales in Switzerland in 2019.

Finally, Switzerland ranks amongst the top in the world when it comes to postal reliability, and is number one for overall postal development.

Mobile commerce gets a boost

With COVID-19 forcing a lockdown on Switzerland, e-commerce got a boost with volume up by 8% between 2019 and 2020, according to the E-Commerce Report Switzerland 2020 by Datatrans and the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland.

One particular trend that’s seen notable growth is mobile commerce. Sales through social media are growing and platforms are adding “buy” buttons and introducing new payment functions.

JP Morgan estimates the Swiss B2C e-commerce to be worth EUR 10.1 billion, with mobile commerce standing at EUR 2.72 billion and accounting for 27% of the overall e-commerce sector.

Preferred e-commerce methods in Switzerland, Source: 2019 Global Payments Trends, JP Morgan

Preferred e-commerce methods in Switzerland, Source: 2019 Global Payments Trends, JP Morgan

The Swiss mobile commerce market is forecast to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 15% up to 2021, double the pace of overall e-commerce growth to reach a value of EUR 4.76 billion.

This positive outlook on mobile commerce in Switzerland comes on the back of high mobile penetration and usage as Switzerland is a nation of smartphone users, the JP Morgan 2019 Global Payments Trends Report notes.

The Swiss are avid users of social networking sites on mobile, and have a habit of leaving product feeds and reviews on social media. They also conduct most of their online product research on smartphones.

Global B2C e-commerce trends

This is the first time Switzerland leads the UNCTAD B2C E-commerce index, surpassing the Netherlands, the previous leader. Out of the global top ten countries, the only non-European economies are Singapore, ranked fourth, and Hong Kong, in the 10th position.

Top 10 economies in the UNCTAD B2C E-commerce Index 2020, Source: UNCTAD, Feb 2021

Top 10 economies in the UNCTAD B2C E-commerce Index 2020, Source: UNCTAD, Feb 2021

An analysis of developing economies found that Asia and the Middle East are leading the group with countries including South Korean, Malaysia, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Oman topping the list.

Top 10 developing economies in the UNCTAD B2C E-commerce index 2020, Source: UNCTAD, Feb 2021

Top 10 developing economies in the UNCTAD B2C E-commerce index 2020, Source: UNCTAD, Feb 2021

The global retail e-commerce market, including automotive sales but excluding food and delivery services, reached US$3.9 trillion in 2020, or 17% of equivalent global retail sales, according to media investment company GroupM.

The sector is projected to reach US$10 trillion in retail e-commerce sales by 2027. By 2024 retail-focused e-commerce will amount to US$7 trillion in annual sales activity, or 25% of retail sales at that time.

Global e-commerce sales and growth, Source: E-commerce Forecast, December 2020, GroupM

Global e-commerce sales and growth, Source: E-commerce Forecast, December 2020, GroupM

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