Ecommerce companies, analysts and trade press editors have talked for years about digital commerce as a gamechanger for how U.S. manufacturers conduct business.
But now, the time of just talk is past. More manufacturers are taking aggressive action to start or expand digital commerce. Despite battling big headwinds from major challenges such as supply chain disruption and COVID-19, manufacturers as a group are ramping up their physical — and digital — assembly lines.
The numbers begin to tell the story. U.S. manufacturers grew their combined digital sales 12.9% to $4.104 trillion in 2021 from $3.634 trillion in 2020, according to data and analysis contained in the 2022 Manufacturing Report from Digital Commerce 360.
These numbers are in line with total U.S. manufacturing sales, which grew 12.6% to $6.036 trillion from $5.354 trillion in 2020, according to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce.
But the fastest-growing channel remains B2B ecommerce. In 2021, manufacturers through their own websites and apps and on B2B marketplaces grew ecommerce 18.4% to $543.25 billion from $458.70 billion. That growth rate is 1.46 times greater than the growth in all manufacturing sales. It’s also 1.43 times bigger than the increase in all electronic sales.
B2B ecommerce also now accounts for a bigger share of all U.S. manufacturing sales. Last year, B2B ecommerce sales totaled 9% of total manufacturing vs. 8.1% in 2020. As a group, U.S. manufacturers are making digital commerce a mainstream channel.
But manufacturers of any size that want to build their business and expand — not just online but all sales going forward — need to prioritize serving an increasingly digitally driven customer base. This report analyzes just how good manufacturers are at getting the job done — and analyzes the workload ahead.
Sign up for a complimentary subscription to Digital Commerce 360 B2B News, published 4x/week. It covers technology and business trends in the growing B2B ecommerce industry. Contact Mark Brohan, vice president of B2B and Market Research Development, at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @markbrohan.
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