B2B marketplaces are making a bigger mark on business-to-business digital commerce, according to data and analysis in the first part of the forthcoming 2020 B2B Marketplace report series from Digital Commerce 360 B2B.

B2B marketplaces are making a bigger mark on business-to-business digital commerce, according to data and analysis in the first part of the forthcoming 2020 B2B Marketplace report series from Digital Commerce 360 B2B.

With a growing number of specialized digital trading platforms in vertical markets, ranging from aerospace to chemicals, the B2B marketplace trend is accelerating.

The concept—and the execution—of a third-party ecommerce platform that for a fee brings together diverse groups of business buyers and sellers to find, research, negotiate and pay for corporate goods and services online isn’t a new trend.

Younger buyers are driving more marketplace sales

Some vertical marketplaces in industries such as automotive and healthcare have been operating for about 20 years.

Driven by younger—and more digitally prone—purchasing executives, marketplaces are emerging as a mainstream B2B ecommerce growth driver.

But led by Amazon Business, by the heightened interest from other big commercial services providers such as eBay Inc. and Alibaba Group Inc., and a by growing number of specialized digital trading platforms in vertical markets ranging from aerospace to chemicals, the B2B marketplace trend is accelerating—and quickly.

Consider these facts:
• Worldwide B2B marketplace sales could reach an estimated $3.6 trillion by 2024, up from an estimated $680 billion in 2018, according to research firm iBe.
• Amazon Business is set to top $31 billion in revenue and $52 billion in gross merchandise volume by 2023, including sales by third-party sellers on the marketplace, says a prominent ecommerce analyst with RBC Capital Markets.
• A September 2019 survey of more than 100 buyers on digital buyer expectations by Digital Commerce 360 B2B reveals that almost half of B2B buyers complete more than 25% of their purchases on marketplaces and nearly 4 in 10 buyers complete more than 10% of their B2B buying on Amazon Business.
• 55% of B2B buyers also expect their Amazon Business volume to trend up in the coming year, according to the survey.
• Amazon Business isn’t the only marketplace looking to generate more business among U.S. buyers and sellers. EBay sees business buyers and sellers as an “important customer segment,” and Alibaba sees a big opportunity in B2B marketplaces by helping small and mid-sized U.S. companies buy and sell products and services both domestically and overseas.
• Five years ago, there were far fewer B2B marketplaces in vertical industries such as apparel, automotive and healthcare. But today, there are more than 70 B2B marketplaces in more than 13 diverse industries, according to research compiled by Digital Commerce 360 B2B.

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Tools for managing spending levels

B2B marketplaces have a range of ecommerce tools offered by sellers that let buyers set up and manage accounts, customize order approvals and monitor spending levels. Other advanced ecommerce and digital tools from sellers let buyers integrate their purchasing systems with the marketplace platform, buy products or services and receive detailed invoices.

As marketplaces go more mainstream in B2B ecommerce, they will continue to build momentum and, in the process, produce new winners and losers in the race to acquire and retain more business customers.

Sign up for a complimentary subscription to Digital Commerce 360 B2B News, published 4x/week, covering technology and business trends in the growing B2B ecommerce industry. Contact Mark Brohan, vice president of B2B and Market Research Development, at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @markbrohan.

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