Ecommerce is reshaping the patterns, players, and possibilities of international trade. It is opening new trade opportunities for companies of all sizes and across sectors. However, numerous challenges need to be overcome for ecommerce to translate into trade and growth gains especially in developing countries, such as poor Internet connectivity, limited digital skills, logistics and market access bottlenecks, and policy and regulatory issues such as data privacy rules that limit access to customer data and its transfer, incomplete intellectual property frameworks, and legal liabilities faced by Internet intermediaries for user content on their sites.
However, lack of systematic and actionable data complicates developing countries and aid agencies’ ability to design and prioritize policy solutions and investments in ecommerce development.
A new Ecommerce Development Survey and Index developed by Nextrade Group for U.S. Agency for International Development start filling this gap. Covering 15 developing economies (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Uruguay, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Philippines, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Ghana) and 3,500 merchants and ecommerce ecosystem companies (ecommerce and payment platforms, shippers, banks, IT firms, etc.), the survey provides actionable policy insight for governments to unlock their ecommerce economies and tailor interventions to meet the needs of different types of firms, such as small vs large, exporters vs. non-exporters, and online sellers vs. offline sellers.
The study also creates a new Ecommerce Development Index that enables countries to compare themselves to their peers and to tracking private sector views on ecommerce development in various areas, such as payments, logistics, and regulations.