3 minutes

Alibaba survey data indicates online sales will play a significantly larger role in small businesses' overall strategy in 2024, highlighting the increasing importance of ecommerce platforms.

As the mid-year approaches, U.S. small businesses are in an acceptable position to grow sales and expand ecommerce, says a new survey from Alibaba.com.

The results, chronicled in Alibaba’s 2024 State of U.S. Buyers Survey, find that most small businesses are in a good mood and anticipating decent  ecommerce performance.

“84% of companies have at least a cautiously optimistic outlook for this year, with 44% being very optimistic,” according to the survey. “6% are pessimistic or very pessimistic about their online business growth this year.”

For many small business organizations, growing ecommerce is a top priority this year. The survey finds that only 53% of respondents sell online, compared with 44% that don’t and 3% that won’t consider ecommerce as a sales channel.

advertisement

Ecommerce obstructions for small businesses

The top digital barriers for small businesses to overcome include:

  • Digital marketing effectiveness (50%)
  • Customer communications (34%)
  • Technology infrastructure and upgrades (31%)

“When comparing this year’s challenges to last, it’s clear that the top issues have remained steady: Lead generation and cash flow,” the survey says.

For more than three-fourths of small businesses ecommerce — and the increased use of artificial intelligence — remain top priorities.

“In 2024, 75% of respondents foresee online business playing a significantly larger role in their overall strategy, highlighting the increasing importance of e-commerce platforms,” according to the survey. “This trend underscores the evolving digital landscape and the potential for broader audience reach and business growth.”

advertisement

With AI, about two-thirds of survey respondents are already using some form of machine learning. Meanwhile, other companies are looking to start up at least a small program.

“Adoption has been remarkably slow in high-earning companies, with 83% of respondents from companies making over $5M not using AI,” the survey says. “However, one company in that financial range that uses AI noted, ‘Yes, AI is used in almost every aspect of the business.’”

More Charts & Data Stories

Check back soon for more Charts & Data Stories, like our weekly B2B infographics. Here’s last week’s. We add new content regularly. 

Submit a nomination

Nominate a game-changer for the Global B2B eCommerce Industry Awards from Digital Commerce 360 and the B2B Ecommerce Association.

advertisement

Sign up

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. Follow us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook and YouTube

Favorite