The B2B e-commerce is big and growing fast—and a rate faster than experts had figured.
That’s according to the latest forecast from Forrester Research Inc., which released a report Friday forecasting that B2B e-commerce in the United States will reach the $1 trillion mark for the first time in 2018 with full-year B2B online sales of $1.134 trillion, up 17% from $969 billion last year.
The $1.134 trillion for this year is 18.9% higher than the $954 billion Forrester had projected for 2018 in the last forecast it released in June 2017.
And it won’t be long until U.S. B2B e-commerce sales are approaching the $2 trillion mark, Forrester adds. By 2023, it projects they’ll hit $1.840 trillion, up 9.4% from $1.682 trillion in 2022 and 19.7% from $1.537 trillion in 2021.
17% of total B2B sales
The new forecast report, “Forrester Analytics: B2B eCommerce Forecast, 2018 to 2023 (US),” was put together by Susan Wu, director of ForecastView, along with Forrester analysts John Bruno and Sanjeev Kumar.
It notes that this year’s $1.134 trillion accounts for about 12% of the $9 trillion in total U.S. B2B sales, a percentage that will increase to 17% of the projected total U.S. B2B sales of $11 trillion in 2023. This report defines B2B e-commerce as employee-generated transactions on e-commerce sites. Forrester also recently published a report earlier this year estimating U.S. B2B e-commerce sales at $9 trillion, including transactions processed through business networks and electronic procurement networks as well as e-commerce sites.
Forrester attributes the robust growth this year to a strong economy, low unemployment and an increasing shift of B2B purchasing to e-commerce from more traditional forms of buying. It notes that pharmacy and grocery products account for the largest share of U.S. B2B e-commerce sales, but that their shares are likely to decline as categories like motor vehicles and machinery supplies increase over the next several years.
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