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The increase in online shopping will continue post-Covid-19, in particular in Turkey



           


The study focuses on nine countries (photo: UNCTAD)
The study focuses on nine countries (photo: UNCTAD)
MEDITERRANEAN. A study by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad), published on Thursday 8 October 2020 in collaboration with the swiss e-commerce association NetComm Switzerland, reveals that "Covid-19 has changed online shopping forever".

The "Covid-19 and e-commerce" survey looks at the development of e-commerce in nine emerging and developed economies* during this pandemic, including two Mediterranean ones: Turkey (225 respondents out of 1819 surveyed among Internet users aged over 16) and Italy (220 respondents).

In 2019, in the first country, 25% of the inhabitants made purchases on the Internet and in the second 35%, while Turkey and Italy have the same percentage of Internet users with 74% of the population.

49% of respondents in all nine countries say they have been shopping online more often since the arrival of Covid-19 than before. This figure reaches 65% in Turkey (second only to China on this question) and 45% for Italy.
85% of customers are delivered to their homes, compared with 22% at a relay point and 19% at their workplace.

"Covid-19 has accelerated the transition to a more digital world".

While online shopping is increasing (especially among those with higher education and those aged 25-44), consumer spending is declining. "In both emerging and developed economies, the biggest spending is being postponed, in emerging economies it is more focused on essential products," the study shows. The tourism and travel sectors experienced the biggest decline with a 75% drop in average spending per online shopper, followed by furniture (-53) and electronic goods (-48%).

"Covid-19 has accelerated the shift to a more digital world. The changes that are taking place now will have lasting effects when the global economy recovers," said Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD.
55% of those surveyed said they will continue the habits they developed during the coronavirus crisis of going through e-commerce for essential products after the pandemic. While 53% said they will buy more often online.

22% of Turks (15% of Italians) even say that, after Covid-19, online shopping will become their only means of acquiring goods. This is the highest proportion recorded in the nine countries surveyed. Moreover, 36% (25% for Italians) will buy as much online as in physical shops and take second place behind the Chinese (51%) on this item. "In the post-Covid-19 world, the unprecedented growth of e-commerce will shake up national and international retail frameworks," says Carlo Terreni, president of NetComm Switzerland.

"Companies that place e-commerce at the heart of their business strategies are prepared for the post-Covid-19 era," says Yomi Castro, founder and CEO of survey partner Inveon. "There is a huge opportunity for industries that are even more accustomed to physical purchases, such as fast-moving consumer goods and pharmaceuticals," she continues. Carlo Terreni calls on "policy makers to adopt concrete measures to facilitate the take-up of e-commerce by small and medium-sized enterprises, create specialised talent pools and attract international investors in the e-commerce field".

* Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, South Africa, Switzerland, Turkey.


Frédéric Dubessy


Thursday, October 8th 2020



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