B2B e-commerce is at a crossroads—next stop: $1 trillion. And the companies who want to stay in the game as sellers must quickly make the right turns regarding commerce strategy and technology investments.

In a market projected to reach $1 trillion by 2019, the stakes are high. And the top companies in the new 2018 edition of the B2B E-Commerce 300 are leading the way to that trillion-dollar mark.

The B2B E-Commerce 300 companies, ranked on their projected 2017 e-commerce sales, collectively account for $563.65 billion in e-commerce revenue. That’s 63.4% of the estimated total $889 billion in e-commerce sales in the United States for 2017 projected by Forrester Research Inc.

The average 2017-over-2016 growth rate in e-commerce revenue for the B2B E-Commerce 300—at 7.1%—validates the 7.2% increase Forrester projects for the same period for all U.S. e-commerce sales. Growth rates are often larger among smaller companies in an expanding market, since it’s easier to produce higher rates of increase from a smaller base of revenue. But the fact that the average growth rate of B2B 300 companies is in sync with Forrester’s industry-wide rate reflects the ability of many of the 300 to continue growing even after they build a large revenue base.

Among the 18 industry categories covered in the B2B E-Commerce 300, the one with the greatest growth rate—and the only one over 20%—is Mass Merchant, at 25.3%. No surprise there, with the Mass Merchant category incorporating the 30% growth rate listed for Amazon Business.

Growth rates also differ by type of selling channel. While wholesalers come in at the smallest increase of 5.4%, retailers showed the sharpest growth, at 26.6%—reflecting in part the efforts of such brands as Staples, Lowe’s and The Home Depot to sell more products to business customers. Distributors (6.2%) and manufacturers (7.0%) were close to the overall average of 7.1%—still healthy growth rates.

B2B companies that know how to engage customers and sell products in a strong market niche are among those that produce the sharpest growth rates in sales. In the Housewares/Home Furnishings/Appliances category, for example, Atlanta Light Bulbs, a distributor of lighting products, has the top growth rate at 348.1%, thanks in part to a “Let’s make a deal” tool that lets buyers negotiate pricing. In Office Supplies, Poppin Inc.—which upgraded its e-commerce site last year to better present inventory ranging from bulk lighting products for commercial buyers to microscope lamps for scientists—produced the highest growth rate of 56.5%.


The just-released 2018 B2B E-Commerce 300 report includes profiles of other major corporations that are at the forefront of a shift to digital commerce. The findings are analyzed in a PDF report and the full data set is available in an online database. The contents include:

  • Profiles of 300 of the largest players in the industry, ranked by their 2017 online sales to business customers (database only)
  • Rankings by company, including online sales range and 2017 growth (report only)
  • 2016-2017 e-commerce sales figures for all 300 companies (database only)
  • Vendors used by B2B sellers across 31 technology categories (database only)
  • Features and functions of each B2B e-commerce site (database only)
  • Eight case studies on leading B2B companies such as Amazon Business, Home Depot, Lowe’s, MSC Industrial Supply, Proto Labs, Staples, Tech Data and W.W. Grainger (report only)

Click here for more information.

Sign up for a free subscription to B2BecNews, a twice-weekly newsletter that covers technology and business trends in the growing B2B e-commerce industry. B2BecNews is published by Vertical Web Media LLC, which also publishes DigitalCommerce360.com, Internet Retailer and Internet Health Management. Follow B2BecNews editor Paul Demery on Twitter @pdemery.

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