It’s time to take another look at your B2B digital strategy. Are you positioned to sell the way customers are projected to transact over the next five years? My colleague Jitender Miglani and I just released our report, 2022 B2B E-Commerce Forecast, US, and it tells an eye-opening story of what’s going to happen over the next five years.

Here are three takeaways for Forrester clients to keep in mind:

  • We’ll see historically comparable growth off a base that came two years earlier than expected. When Forrester published the B2B e-commerce forecast in 2019, we predicted that US B2B e-commerce would hit $1.8 trillion by 2023. COVID-19 hit a year later. At the end of 2021, B2B e-commerce reached $1.7 trillion — just shy of what we expected two years from now — and it’s growing at a similar CAGR.
  • B2B e-commerce will grow by over two times of offline and EDI combined. The growth rate of e-commerce is translating into large absolute dollars. In five years, offline B2B sales will essentially have remained flat, and electronic data interchange (EDI) will have gained modestly, for a combined $0.60 trillion. By contrast, B2B e-commerce will have grown by $1.37 trillion.
  • Marketplaces are riding the rising tide. Enterprises don’t consistently publish the commissions they make off third-party sellers. And a growing number of firms use a mix of strategies to expand their assortments. “Non-merchant e-commerce” is the category name for sales through a marketplace business model. According to our data, they account for 1% of US B2B e-commerce today and will account for the same in 2027. That’s tiny when you compare that to “merchant wholesaler/distributor-selling” and “manufacturer direct-selling e-commerce.” What about the CAGR for non-merchant e-commerce? 17.8%. Stay tuned for future research on this topic.

Forrester clients should download our report, 2022 B2B E-Commerce Forecast, US, and dig into specific merchandise categories that are ahead of or behind the curve of B2B e-commerce adoption in the US.

And if you want to understand what marketplaces can do for your B2B e-commerce business, call your analyst.I’m standing by to help you make sense of your options for participating in marketplace business models as an operator or a third-party seller. Schedule an inquiry with me to talk about how marketplaces can help you deliver your digital strategy.

This graphic demonstrates the components of and relationships within the B2B E-Commerce Wholesale Market.