Strong mid-year digital sales for distributors are a harbinger of even more B2B ecommerce to come

The middle of the year has come and gone for the biggest public distribution companies. And if the first six months of 2022 are an indicator of how distributor B2B ecommerce will fare for the rest of the year and into 2023, it will be steady to strong but not blockbuster.

For the six public bellwether distribution companies — Fastenal, Global Industrial, MSC Industrial Supply Co., MRC Global Inc., W.W. Grainger Inc. and Watsco Inc. — that break out actual or at least some ecommerce metrics, 2022 won’t be a breakout year for digital sales. But it will accelerate a shift that makes it an even bigger priority to serve an increasingly digital-first customer. Digital sales, or sales that occur through ecommerce, electronic data interchange, e-procurement, and marketplaces, also for many of these bellwether public distributors is now the (or close to becoming) dominant sales channel.

For example, MRC is close to the day when 50% of all sales will be digital. MRC distributes pipe, valve and fitting products and services to the energy and industrial markets.

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