PH lags behind Asean neighbors in e-commerce, UNCTAD reports


MANILA — The UNCTAD reports the Philippines as 96th place out of 152 economies in the Business-to-Consumer (B2C) E-commerce Index 2020. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) finds the Philippines behind most of its neighbors in terms of readiness to support online shopping.

  • The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development or UNCTAD is the part of the United Nations Secretariat dealing with trade, investment, and development issues. The organization’s goals are to: “maximize the trade, investment, and development opportunities of developing countries and assist them in their efforts to integrate into the world economy on an equitable basis”.
  • The primary objective of UNCTAD is to formulate policies relating to all aspects of development including trade, aid, transport, finance, and technology. The conference ordinarily meets once in four years; the permanent secretariat is in Geneva.
  • The UNCTAD was established in 1964 as a permanent intergovernmental body and it reports to the UN General Assembly and United Nations Economic and Social Council.


The ranks of other Asean countries are: Singapore placed fourth; Malaysia, 30th; Thailand 42nd; Vietnam, 63rd; and Indonesia 83rd.

However, the Philippines is ahead of Lao People’s Democratic Republic, which ranked 101st; Cambodia, 117th; and Myanmar, 130th.

These rankings are based on four indicators: the percentage of the population using the internet, the share of individuals with an account at a financial institution or with a mobile money service provider, postal reliability, and secure internet servers.

The Philippines index shows that: (1) 65 percent share of individuals use the internet in the country; (2) the share of individuals aged 15 and above with an account with a financial institution or mobile money service provider is at 35 percent; (3) secure internet servers indicator index is at 39 percent; and in postal reliability, 40 percent.

Based on the four indicators, the Philippines had an index value of 44.7 percent in 2020.

Switzerland topped the index, making it the most prepared economy to engage in online commerce. The Netherlands followed in second place and Denmark on the third spot.

Meanwhile, Niger was at the bottom of the list.

Shamika Sirimanne, director of UNCTAD’s division which prepares the annual index says, “Given the coronavirus disease pandemic, it has become more important for countries trailing behind to catch up and improve their readiness for online trade.

“Through the index, the UNCTAD would want governments to make sure more people can avail and take advantage of e-commerce opportunities.

“Otherwise, their businesses and people will miss out on the opportunities offered by the digital economy, and they will be less prepared to deal with various challenges.” (BG/Headline PH)


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