Although the growth of B2B e-commerce is expected to accelerate over the coming years, not all industries are equally suitable and prepared for embracing digital selling. The manufacturers most ready to launch their digital selling activities include those in high-tech goods, machinery, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, rubber, plastics and transport equipment. However, the benefits and obstacles that respective companies will face depend on the relative power they have within the market.
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The global B2B e-commerce market amounted to around USD4 trillion in 2017, and is expected to continue growing at a rapid pace, with manufacturing industries leading growth.
The manufacturers most ready to launch their digital selling activities include those in high-tech goods, machinery, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, rubber, plastics and transport equipment. However, the benefits and obstacles that companies are likely to face depend on their relative market power with respect to their buyers.
Producers of machinery, rubber and plastics are among the most prepared to digitalise their sales channels, as they have strong investment demand, simple supply chains and the necessary IT infrastructure. Machinery producers are expected to be pushed into e-commerce due to intensifying competition with their peers, while rubber and plastics companies will be incentivised by their strong buyers.
E-commerce helps big corporations to cost-effectively address the needs of the wide range of smaller buyers (in the case of pharmaceuticals, medical devices and high-tech goods). Alternatively, it can help to strengthen the relationships among companies that have strong market power (transport equipment).