The online retail sales in India is 1.6 per cent of the total retail trade in the country, a joint report by World Bank Group and Cuts International revealed the surprising figure in a report on Monday.

The report “Unleashing e-commerce for South Asian Integration” suggests that even in the neighbouring country of Bangladesh the online sales is only 0.7 per cent of the total retail sale while in china it is 15 per cent and globally it stands at 14 per cent.

According to the Report, e-commerce can become a driver of growth across South Asia and boost trade between in the region, but its potential remains largely untapped.

Further, it said, Increasing the use of e-commerce by consumers and firms in South Asia could potentially help increase competition and firm productivity, and encourage diversification of production and exports.

World Bank Lead Economist, Sanjay Kathuria said, “E-commerce can boost a range of economic indicators across South Asia, from entrepreneurship and job growth to higher GDP rates and overall productivity.”

According to a survey, 2200 south Asian firms showed that the top concerns on the cross border in e-commerce include logistics, e-commerce and digital regulations, and connectivity and information technology infrastructure.

The main international e-partners of firms in South Asia are China, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The SME’s suggested the elimination of regulatory and logistical challenges to e-commerce as it would increase their exports, employment, and productivity by as much as 20-30 per cent.

The report suggests reforms to overcome the hurdles in many areas like payments, delivery, market access regulations, consumer protection, and data privacy, at the national, regional, and global levels.