Going digital to boost global export economy

As many as 350 million businesses could become exporters in future as global trade moves online, according to data analysed by DMCC and economic consultancy Cebr..

Businesses in high-income economies in North America and Europe will lead the way, but the developing world will catch up quickly as mobile technology becomes the main way of accessing the internet, according to a report on the future of trade by DMCC, the authority on trade enterprise and commodities, and Cebr.

At present, almost 90% of the population in North America and 70% of Europe’s population have access to the internet, compared with less than a fifth of the population in South Asia.

There are also huge variations in e-commerce, with just 1% of retail sales occurring online in South Asia, while in North America, Europe and East Asia and the Pacific, the share of e-commerce sales in all sales is more than 8 times higher.

The report says that there is a high correlation between the share of businesses in a region that export and the pace of digitialisation.

DMCC and CEBR’s analysis of World Bank data suggests that there is “a huge potential among lower-income countries to “catch-up” with higher income ones when it comes to digitalisation.”

The report says that there are huge variations in the level of digitalisation around the world.

While over 90% of businesses across all industries have a digital infrastructure in place, they do less well in using that infrastructure to connect with suppliers and customers.

The industries where digitalisation is most advanced include the Information & Communications sectors, and the Professional, Scientific and Technical sectors.

The Accomodation and Food Services sector leads the way in connecting with consumers, probably due to the technologies that make online reservations and bookings possible.

Meanwhile, sectors including construction and manufacturing have some way to go before they can be called truly digital, CEBR and DMCC find.