In an update of earlier projections, Forrester Research analyst Andy Hoar says e-commerce will account for 13.1% of business-to-business sales in the United States within four years.

B2B e-commerce is still surging to new heights—projected to hit $1.2 trillion in the United States alone by 2021, Forrester Research says in a new report released today.

Andy Hoar, B2B e-commerce analyst, Forrester Research


Forrester projects a compound annual growth rate from 2016 to 2021 of 7.4% in U.S. B2B e-commerce sales.

The report, by Forrester vice president and lead B2B e-commerce analyst Andy Hoar and other Forrester analysts, projects a slight dip in earlier projected figures for 2020—to $1.098 trillion in the U.S. by 2020, down 3% from $1.132 trillion projected in a report released in April 2015. Forrester said B2B e-commerce sales and total B2B sales were expected to increase by smaller annual growth rates over the next few years compared with growth rates projected two years ago. It now projects a compound annual growth rate from  2016 to 2021 of 7.4%, down from the 7.7% it had projected for 2015 to 2020.

Forrester estimates that U.S. B2B e-commerce sales will reach $889 billion this year, up 7.2% from $829 billion last year, grow 7.3% annually for three years, then climb 7.9% between 2020 and 2021 to reach $1.184 trillion.

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(Forrester does not include commerce conducted via electronic data interchange as part of its figures on e-commerce.)

But the lower projections coincide with an increasing share of e-commerce as a percentage of total B2B sales. Forrester’s latest figures project that e-commerce will account for 11.0% of total B2B sales this year, and rise to 13.1% of total B2B sales by 2021. Its prior projections were for shares of 10.5% this year and 12.1% in 2021.

In 2015, it forecast total 2020 B2B sales of $9.39 trillion; its current report cites a total B2B sales figure of $9 trillion for 2021.

Forrester projects that at the product categories with the fastest growth in terms of e-commerce as a percentage of total sales between 2016 and 2021 will be motor vehicles and related parts and supplies; drugs and druggists’ sundries; and electrical and electronic parts. Hoar—who will address many of these findings during a B2B Workshop presentation at IRCE 2017 in Chicago June 6—said in an interview today that these categories are high-growth partly because buyers can easily identify many of their products on e-commerce sites and sellers can quickly ship them.

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