Buyers and sellers once viewed B2B marketplaces only as a hazy image on the B2B ecommerce landscape. But these days B2B marketplaces are now a mainstream digital sales channel. That’s thanks to droves of digital-first buyers who are using marketplaces in bigger numbers to source and pay for business goods and services in the wake of ongoing supply chain disruption.
B2B marketplaces are the fastest-growing ecommerce channel, with sales on all types of platforms, including commercial and vertical market marketplaces. Sales on B2B marketplaces shot up 131% to $56.5 billion in 2021 and are projected to increase at a similar pace to $130 billion in 2022, according to data and analysis in the forthcoming B2B Marketplace 400 research report from Digital Commerce 360.
B2B buyers, like consumers, turned to websites to make purchases when the COVID-19 pandemic struck in early 2020, making face-to-face transactions impossible in many cases. When Digital Commerce 360 asked business buyers in May 2021 how the pandemic changed their buying behavior, the top response, which 52% selected, was that they went to “ecommerce sites as they have more selection.” And many times, the ecommerce sites they purchased from were marketplaces. In the same survey, 57% of buyers said they were purchasing more from B2B online marketplaces during the pandemic. That includes 17% who said they were buying “significantly more” than before.
And that’s showing up in B2B marketplaces’ financial results.
The money is flowing
Despite challenging economic conditions, investors continue to pump funding into B2B marketplace companies, says Bowery Capital. There were 111 completed deals in 2021. And the pace didn’t fall off so far in 2022. Through May, there have been a total of 63 deals, says Bowery Capital. “We have not seen a huge slowdown even as the market matures,” says Bowery Capital founder and managing partner Michael Brown. “There are still so many problems in the industry cloud segments that B2B ecommerce can solve.”
Three years ago, Digital Commerce 360 was following about 75 to 100 B2B marketplaces. Today, the forthcoming B2B Marketplace 400 research report has metrics and analysis on 400 commercial and vertical marketplaces. They’re spread across 18 different industries, which range from automotive parts, chemicals, energy and construction supplies to labor and logistics.
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, senior vice president of B2B and Market Research, at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @markbrohan.
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