In four to five years, most trade between producers and suppliers on the one hand and buyers on the other hand will take place via digital channels. This involves hundreds of billions of euros. After the digital transformation in the consumer market, it is now happening in the business market. In a few years, 80% of the interactions will be via digital channels, according to DHL. And in seven years’ time it will be 70% of the B2B turnover in the world.
Strong growth for B2B e-commerce
The study predicts strong growth for the B2B e-commerce market in the coming years. By 2025, 80% of all B2B sales interactions between suppliers and professional buyers will take place in digital channels. The impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the pace of digitalisation and the purchasing behaviour of technology-savvy millennials, who are now of an age to be the professional B2B decision-makers, are the main drivers of this global e-commerce growth. The future of the B2B sector, has already been visible in the significant B2C e-commerce rise over the last years. Here, DHL Express experienced high growth rates particularly during the holiday peak seasons and mega shopping days (e.g. Black Friday, Cyber Monday). In total the B2C e-commerce volumes within the DHL Express network increased in 2020 by approximately 40%, compared to 2019.
The shift to shopping online
“Even in times of worldwide shutdowns, globalization has shown its resilience, fueled by digitalization and the power of global trade,” says John Pearson, CEO of DHL Express. “These trends have led to an ever growing number of consumers to shift their shopping activities online. The pandemic has accelerated this development like never before, with a sharp rise in businesses selling their goods in the global marketplace. E-commerce and global logistics thus provided the key to unlock local shutdowns, keep economies running and mitigate the impact of COVID-19 for many of our customers.”
B2B e-commerce growth before COVID-19
It was not only B2C e-commerce that was growing due to ongoing digitalisation and changed shopping behaviour of consumers. In 2019, before COVID-19, global sales on B2B e-commerce sites and marketplaces had already increased by 18.2% to reach $12.2 trillion. Outpacing the market size of the B2C sector. Through COVID-19 and the resulting acceleration of digitalisation, this global B2B e-commerce volume is estimated to reach $20.9 trillion by 2027.
Millennials account for 73% of B2B purchasing decisions
DHL uncovers factors driving the growth of the global B2B e-commerce market. Besides general trends such as globalisation and digitalisation, a new technology-oriented generation of Millennials is starting to make its mark. Already, Millennials account for 73% of all professional B2B purchasing decisions. As digital natives, their experiences in the B2C-sector translate to high expectations when making B2B transactions. Pushing companies to invest in digital solutions, such as selling platforms, while offering great growth potential.