The manufacturing market is recovering from a range of headwinds that hindered growth in 2023. As a result, manufacturers are prioritizing digital transformation to get ahead in 2024.

Manufacturing companies’ sales will remain sluggish as they battle a range of issues from geopolitical turmoil, slow global economic growth, and cost pressures to talk of a recession and labor issues, among others, says the National Association of Manufacturers.

But while total sales growth will be slow to rebound in 2024, the two areas where manufacturers will pick up the pace for growth and development are digital commerce and transformation.

Manufacturers are improving ecommerce channels to grow sales

Consider these metrics.

A recent survey of nearly 100 manufacturers found that 66% of them plan to invest in customer portals this year. That’s up from 50% last year, according to The Voice of Digital Leaders in Manufacturing 2024 report. Digital commerce technology and services firm Valtech produced the report with Copperberg, which develops content for manufacturers’ digital and offline platforms.


Manufacturers are moving ahead in the ecommerce maturity curve, with 30% of respondents ranking themselves ahead of their competitors. That’s up from 16% in 2022, according to Copperberg.

Manufacturers have big plans in store for artificial intelligence. 70% of manufacturers plan to invest in AI for operations compared with:

  • Sales (60%)
  • Robotic process automation (48%)
  • Financial reporting (47%)
  • Front- and back-office systems (36%)

“Most companies are turning to Industry 4.0 and digital capabilities for enhanced production and supply chain agility and visibility,” says a recent survey of 330 manufacturers by accounting, tax, and consulting services firm Wipfli. “By leveraging real-time market intelligence and predictive tools, manufacturers can better navigate current market volatility and pivot more quickly to their plan B.”

While total manufacturers’ sales are expected to grow by around 2% in 2024, B2B ecommerce sales will grow eight times faster. They’ll total $2.61 trillion this year up 16% from $2.27 trillion in 2023, according to a Digital Commerce 360 projection.


Manufacturing accounts for about one-third of all B2B ecommerce, meaning U.S. manufacturers are on track to grow their combined ecommerce sales by about 15%, based on a projection from Digital Commerce 360.

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