Worldwide E-commerce index 2018: The Netherlands rises to the top

The Netherlands rises to top of the e-commerce index

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) have been releasing the B2C E-commerce index since 2015, a chart that measures a country’s economic preparedness to support online shopping.

The freshly released 2018 index ranks the Netherlands in first place, followed by Singapore and Switzerland in the second and third places. Eight of the top ten countries measured are European.

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Secure servers and payment ease with iDEAL in the Netherlands 

The index is based on an average of four indicators: 

  • The number of account owners at financial institutions or mobile-money providers; 
  • The number of individuals using the internet; 
  • The postal reliability index; 
  • The number of secure web servers per 1 million people. 

The Netherlands scores high for secure servers (used as a proxy for e-Commerce shops) and had over 40.000 “pure play” online retailers in 2016, the highest number in the European Union. The Netherlands has the second highest proportion of online shoppers in the world (76% of the population aged 15 and older). Also, virtually every adult in the country has a bank account including the interbank online payment system known as iDEAL. 

When focusing on the Netherlands as a desitination for your E-commerce business, integration of online payments via iDEAL is essential. Users find it convenient since payment is easy. Buyers can simply scan a QR code with their mobile banking app. For sellers, transaction costs are low, and banks are not required to pay fees to international credit card companies. 

Upcoming: Singapore 

Singapore has surged 16 positions from the last edition and now ranks among the top countries in accounts, secure server penetration and postal reliability. E-commerce giant Alibaba is an investor in Singapore Post; in fiscal year 2018 they reported that over half of the country’s revenue was E-commerce related. 

Switzerland rates favorably on all indicators. According to its national postal operator, Switzerland has all the ingredients it needs to be one of the best E-commerce markets in the world. The United Kingdom has climbed to fourth position and has – along with the Netherlands and Switzerland – all index indicator values at 90 or above. Norway and Sweden are among the Nordic nations included in the top ten, with high levels of Internet access, payment methods and reliable postal delivery. However, secure server penetration lags behind other leading countries. 

Growth of cross border business 

As the exclusive agent of PostNL, Spring is the expert in logistic solutions in the Netherlands to grow E-commerce business. We use our expertise in creative ways to provide the best solution to deliver goods, in a way that customers have come to expect. In the Netherlands and across the world. “We are continuously optimizing and improving our services to have even faster routings with more delivery options. Making it easy and growing our customers business is what we stand for,” says Hieke van Rees-Spoelstra, E-commerce Director of Spring GDS. 

We listen, we inspire, we deliver. 

Download the full report: UNCTAD B2C E-commerce index 2018. URL: