The companies Amazon, Alibaba, Jumia and Nextflix increased their revenues as a result of the measures due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Some of the major online platforms have seen substantial improvements in financial performance and equity values as a result of improvements in their business climate during the pandemic, UNCTAD noted in a report released Monday.
Online retailer (and cloud service provider) Amazon, for example, posted its most profitable quarter in the third quarter of 2020, with more than 35% growth in both U.S. and international sales revenue, including a 33% growth in revenue from own product sales and almost 55% growth in revenue from vendors in your market.
Meanwhile, the African platform Jumia saw a rise of more than 50%, from 3.1 million to 4.7 million in transaction volume during the first six months of 2020, compared to the same period in 2019.
Netflix’s revenue is also reported to have grown 25 percent.
Online platforms are digital (usually commercial) environments that allow different parties to interact online.
From UNCTAD’s perspective, these platforms are increasingly important in the global economy, as they use data-driven business models to complement, disrupt and sometimes displace more traditional ways of doing business.
In its 2019 Digital Economy Report, UNCTAD distinguishes between transactional and innovation platforms.
The former provides an online infrastructure that supports exchanges between several different parties, while the latter creates environments for code and content producers to develop applications and software.
“Platform-centric companies,” the report notes, have a huge advantage in the data-driven economy. As intermediaries and infrastructures, they are positioned to record and extract all data related to online actions and interactions between users of the platform.
In recent years, the domestic digital supply market for many products in many countries has been dominated by a small number of global platforms, such as the American Amazon and the Chinese companies Alibaba and JD.com.
However, the relative importance of global and local platforms varies between countries.
According to the new UNCTAD report (Covid-19 and E-Commerce: A Global Review, prepared by UNCTAD and by eTrade for all), it is estimated that Amazon has around 14% of the global electronic shopping market, for For example, including a majority share in the US market and a 30% share in the UK.
In China, Alibaba’s Tmall service, JD.com, and Pinduoduo share about 80% of the retail e-commerce market.
Lazada (now owned by Alibaba) and Shopee (based in Singapore) are widely used in Southeast Asia, as is Mercado Libre in Latin America where it operates in 15 countries.
About two-thirds of online purchases in Saudi Arabia are made from websites based in the Gulf region rather than global platforms like Amazon and Alibaba, while Arab websites also dominate the Egyptian e-commerce market.
Governments and development partners increasingly understand that e-commerce provides new ways to facilitate the SDGs set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Innovations in technology and trade modalities are creating opportunities for companies of all sizes to engage in domestic and international trade through adaptation of supply chains, lower trade costs, and greater market reach.
By reducing transaction and search costs, as well as frictions in business interfaces, digital platforms, those of individual sellers, and third-party platforms such as Amazon and Alibaba, allow those offering goods or services to more easily connect with (potential) consumers and expand the volume of business interactions.