The 2016 e-commerce index measures the readiness of 137 countries to engage in online commerce. The purpose of the index is to help policymakers understand the extent to which their countries are able to harness the full potential of e-commerce for economic development.
The 2016 e-commerce index released by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) found that the top ten economies most ready to engage in online commerce include six European countries, three Asian Pacific countries, and one North American country.
In order to measure readiness to engage in online commerce, UNCTAD used four metrics, including internet use penetration, secure servers per 1 million inhabitants, credit card penetration and a postal reliability score. Unlike previous years, UNCTAD now covers 137 economies, which represent 96 percent of the world’s population and 99 percent of world GDP.
The report indicates that e-commerce readiness varies by region, in large part due to regional internet usage. Regions with more popular internet usage, like Western Asia, have higher e-commerce readiness than regions with less internet usage, like Africa. Other regions, such as Latin America, are affected by barriers such as credit card penetration, or unreliable postal access.
Overall, the report indicates many countries have improved their e-commerce readiness, including Qatar, Uruguay, and the Russian Federation. Further, the top three developing economies are Asian Tigers with high Internet penetration and well-developed logistics networks: the Republic of Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore.