U.S. manufacturing and total business-to-business sales flatlined in the first six months of the year. B2B ecommerce remains an accelerated priority.
In June, manufacturing sales declined to $573.9 billion. That’s down 2.6% from $589.3 billion in June 2022. Meanwhile, total sales were $1.818 trillion. That’s down 3.1% from $1.877 trillion in June 2022, says the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Manufacturing sales halfway through 2023
For the first six months, all manufacturing and distribution sales were flat at about $10.93 trillion, according to government data.
But even as manufacturing productivity and sales slow, more manufacturers are accelerating their adoption of digital commerce and transformation. Two-thirds of U.S. manufacturers (66%) agree that implementing digital marketing and sales over the next two years is a “high” or “very high” priority, according to a recent survey by PwC.
“Ecommerce channels could change business and operating models to open up a host of benefits, including preserving and protecting sales in the event of another pandemic-like crisis, increasing reach into new customer segments (and data about their habits and needs) and improving revenues and lowering cost-to-serve by decreasing in-person marketing and selling,” PWC says.
For some manufacturers, an up-and-down economy and slowed sales productivity are causing these organizations to use more digital commerce to improve operational efficiency, says Lori McDonald, CEO of web design at B2B ecommerce consulting firm Brilliance Business Solutions.
“There is a lot of acquisition activity happening right now that is fueling digital investment,” she says. “And some (manufacturers) who are more cautious based on the economic uncertainty are changing how they invest in digital to invest in projects with a faster return on investment and that increase their differentiation in the market. In addition, most manufacturers are feeling a strain on their internal resources along with increased pressures for growth. They are leveraging digital tools to support their internal teams in improving service to their customers while also allowing their team to be more efficient.”
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