The organisation's Business to Consumer (B2C) e-Commerce Index shows that Portugal is performing better than in 2019, when it was in 42nd place, indicating that 75 percent of Portuguese use the internet, of which 51 percent make purchases online. With regard to percentages of the total population, 38.3 percent of Portuguese citizens use electronic commerce, according to UNCTAD.

According to data released by the organisation, Europe “remains the region most prepared for‘ e-commerce’”, with the ranking being led, for the first time, by Switzerland, followed by the Netherlands. The only non-European regions in the UNCTAD table are Singapore and Hong Kong, in fourth and tenth positions, respectively.

The two largest e-commerce markets in the world, China and the USA occupy the 55th and 12th places, respectively, and, according to the entity, even though they lead in values, absolute figures in the sector are left behind when relative comparisons are made.

Shamika N. Sirimanne, who heads the UNCTAD division responsible for this annual index, stated that "the division in e-commerce remains huge". "Even among the G20 countries, the percentage of people who buy online ranges from 3 percent in India to 87 percent in the United Kingdom", said the same official.

"The covid-19 pandemic has made it more urgent to ensure that countries that are lagging behind are able to reach out to others and strengthen their agility in this area," said the same official, adding that the index's results show that governments must do more in this area. "If that doesn't happen, businesses and people will miss out on the opportunities offered by the digital economy and will be less prepared to deal with various challenges," Shamika N. Sirimanne concluded.

The index ranks 152 nations when preparing for e-commerce, a sector valued at 4.4 trillion dollars (3.600 billion euros) globally, an increase of 7 percent compared to 2019. UNCTAD assesses countries with regard to access to secure Internet servers, the reliability of postal services and infrastructure, as well as the percentage of population that uses the Internet and has an account with a financial institution or mobile provider that provides financial services.