Describes how widely e-Commerce is used, the primary sectors that sell through e-commerce, and how much product/service in each sector is sold through e-commerce versus brick-and-mortar retail. Includes what a company needs to know to take advantage of e-commerce in the local market and, reputable, prominent B2B websites.
Last Published: 10/10/2018
eCommerce is growing.  All commercial banks have online banking services.  Travel companies, hotels, and a few large retailers have online trading services.  Sri Lankan eCommerce companies offer customers in Sri Lanka access to millions of global products.  The government is also encouraging e-services.  A main eCommerce portal for automated cargo clearance has been established.  Additional government web portals for filing of tax returns, payment of taxes, renewing of revenue licences are also available in Sri Lanka. 

Most of the global eCommerce sites including PayPal are available in Sri Lanka, but have limitations due to an inadequate refund mechanism and inward receipts.  A 2.5 percent stamp duty applies to usage of credit cards issued by Sri Lankan banks for transactions converted into a foreign currency.  Transactions in local currency are exempted from this duty.

Currently there is no local body which regulates eCommerce businesses in Sri Lanka.  Increased competition from international eCommerce sites such as and Airbnb have resulted in demands by the Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) for the government to consider regulating eCommerce businesses.  

Domestic B2C eCommerce sites have seen a significant growth since within the last several years.  A wide variety of consumer products can be purchased through eCommerce sites including groceries, apparel and electronics.  Social media marketing has been widely hyped in recent years.
Cross border eCommerce is limited to purchases of products from popular overseas sites such as ebay and Amazon.  Numerous local eCommerce companies sell imported goods.

In 2017, commenced operations at the first B2B eCommerce site in Sri Lanka.  This business model is very new and has not seen a high growth as businesses still prefer to directly deal with sellers and purchase goods and services.

eCommerce Services
The Internet penetration in Sri Lanka is growing, granting more people access to the World Wide Web.  2017 figures show 27.6 percent of the population have acess to the internet. This is mainly attributed to the growth of Sri Lanka’s mobile industry.  The country now has a mobile penetration of 131 percent, with the accessibility of smartphones growing rapidly.

The Electronic Transactions Act No.19 of 2006 facilitates eCommerce by removing legal barriers and ensuring legal certainty both within Sri Lanka and internationally. Several other laws also support eCommerce such as the Evidence Act No. 14 of 1995, Payment and Settlement Systems Act No. 28 of 2005, Payment Devices Frauds Act No 30 of 2006, and the Computer Crimes Act of No 24 of 2007.  Following the ratifcation of the UN Electronic Commissions Convention (UNECC) by Sri Lanka in 2015, the government amended the Electronic Transactions Act in 2017 to provide greater legal validity for eCommerce and eBusiness providers, and ensure international validity of such e-contracts.  

While awareness of online shopping is growing, financial institutions are also developing the related services of payment gateways to offer reliable online payment services to support the expansion of eCommerce.

The government is currently using an e-service gateway to streamline certain government services. The Inland Revenue Department has recently enabled filing of tax returns through the Inland Revenue web service portal ( Vehicle revenue licenses can be renewed online (

eCommerce Intellectual Property Rights
eCommerce Intellectual Property Rights are protected under several laws:

Evidence (Special Provisions) Act No.14 of 1995, The Intellectual Property Act No. 36 of 2003, Electronic Transactions  Act No. 19 of 2006, and the Computer Crimes Act No. 24 of 2007.  An infringer who offers counterfeit products for sale online could be held liable under the Intellectual Property law.

Popular eCommerce Sites

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Sri Lanka eCommerce Industry Trade Development and Promotion eCommerce