UN reports on impact of Covid-19 on ecommerce payments in developing countries

UNCTAD graph showing growth in payment methods since covid-19
DIGITAL TRENDS: Covid-19 has sparked a big rise in mobile and online payments in developing countries

Ecommerce businesses in 23 of the world’s poorer nations have seen “a notable increase” in digital payments as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of ecommerce businesses surveyed reported changes in payments methods since the beginning of the pandemic, alongside significant growth in mobile payments, as well as in online and mobile banking, credit card payments and other digital payment platforms.

In absolute terms, however, cash-on-delivery remains “prominent”, especially in the least developed countries (LDCs) included in the report.

The ‘Covid-19 and ecommerce: Impact on businesses and policy responses’ study also shows that “while 58% of businesses selling their own products or services online have recorded a drop in monthly revenue, about 64% of third-party marketplaces have seen a spike in sales”.

“We found that wholly digital businesses, especially third-party online marketplaces, have been more resilient during the current crisis,” says UNCTAD’s Shamika Sirimanne.

“The existing divides in terms of digital readiness underline the need to accelerate policy reforms and mobilise support to build the capacity of developing countries to leverage ecommerce in their Covid-19 recovery plans.

“Digitalisation must be placed at the heart of the development debate. The current changes in consumer and business behaviour will have lasting effects when the world economy starts to pick up again.”

The report also outlines schemes in a number of Asian and African countries to encourage the use of digital payments and support and strengthen the ecommerce business environment.

The full 36-page report can be downloaded here.

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