Information economy report 2015

Unlocking the potential of E-Commerce for developing countries

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Electronic commerce (e-commerce) is rapidly transforming the way in which enterprises are interacting among each other as well as with consumers and governments. Despite important potential benefits, businesses and consumers in developing countries were for a long time slow to exploit e-commerce. As a result of changes in the evolving landscape for information and communications technologies (ICTs), this pattern is now changing, and e-commerce is growing rapidly in emerging markets and developing economies. Against this background, this publication revisits the potential opportunities and risks of e-commerce and examines how countries can benefit the most from the phenomenon in today's Information Society. Using official statistics and private sector data, it provides an up-to-date review of global and regional trends related to e-commerce in view of changes in the ICT landscape, focusing on developing countries while drawing lessons from developed countries.



Global and regional trends

The global landscape for e-commerce is rapidly evolving, with developing countries assuming an increasingly important role. This chapter reviews recent trends at global and regional levels. It presents new estimates of the size of e-commerce, distinguishing between B2B and B2C. The chapter furthermore examines how the pattern of e-commerce by enterprises varies depending on enterprise size and industry. It notes the rapid growth of e-commerce in Asia as well as the dynamic evolution of online commercial activities in parts of sub-Saharan Africa and in Latin America.


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