Advocates of the payment facilitator model often say that enabling digital commerce for even the smallest merchants will remove barriers to growth and empower them to help drive the global economy.

Shopify has put figures on the true impact of enabling entrepreneurs through PF technology with the release of its new global economic report. 

The report highlights how businesses using its platform – which now number over one million – have grown and benefited the world economy. Shopify merchants contributed $183 billion in economic activity worldwide between 2016 and 2018, the company said.

Shopify businesses also supported more than 1.4 million full-time jobs worldwide.

“The global economic impact report details our incredible growth, driven by our focus on these key principles: The importance of democratizing technology; individuals can change the world, from anywhere in the world; entrepreneurship elevates communities; and the future is borderless commerce,” the company said in a press release.

A significant portion of the benefits are going to developing regions. The Shopify report said that businesses from emerging countries have contributed to their local communities by generating more than $3 billion in revenue between 2016 and 2018, with 93% of their international sales to advanced economies. 

“Regions such as sub-Saharan Africa are experiencing exceptional growth, with more entrepreneurs paying suppliers, spending profits, and creating jobs—all while boosting economies around this region,” the company said in the report.

As Shopify businesses grow, they’re doing so at a pace beyond that of the broader economic system. Shopify merchants’ online sales grew 59% in 2018, more than twice the rate of the global ecommerce market at large, the company said. And exports among these businesses grew at seven times the global average between 2016 and 2018. 

In its report, Shopify explained why technology has helped to democratize commerce. 

“We help (businesses) achieve independence by keeping startup costs low and building products that make the important things easier and everything else possible,” it said. 

The report uses data from the company’s merchant base as well as data from Deloitte Canada, the company said.