81 Relevant B2B Statistics: 2021/2022 Market Share Analysis & Data
Nowadays, most B2B transactions involve software solutions that can automate the delivery of goods and services as well as make payments more convenient for both parties. Moving forward, we will see the industry shift towards the adoption of artificial intelligence and the utilization of mobile technology. Can we possibly get a glimpse of that time ahead by looking at relevant B2B statistics?
To help you answer this, we have culled the most important B2B statistics of 2021. From marketing and sales forecasts to advancements in ecommerce and technology, we will be tackling everything you need to know to keep up with the developments shaping the future of the industry.
The B2B industry has continually expanded and innovated over the past few years, offering newer types of products and services. As we delve deeper into the digital age, we will see that companies in this industry will increasingly leverage technology and the internet for their operations, allowing for more convenient transactions.
B2B digital sales in all channels grew by 10.9% in 2019. (Digital Commerce 360, 2020)
Many B2B retailers have been using the internet for at least two years to carry out their operations. This is expected to increase in 2019 and beyond. (BigCommerce, 2021)
61% of B2B transactions start online. (BigCommerce, 2021)
Aside from the increase in online transactions, another significant shift in the B2B market is buyer expectations. Similar to the B2C market, the value of what your company has to offer no longer lies solely on the quality of your products and services but on how well you can deliver customer experiences.
According to 86% of B2B CMOs, customer experience will be more critical in the industry in the coming years. (Accenture, 2020)
A third of B2B buyers say that their expectations of customer experience have increased. (Accenture, 2019)
The five most important factors for B2B buyers evaluating solutions providers were: features or functionalities (73%), pricing (72%), reviews (59%), deployment time or ease of use (56%), and the provider’s ability to solve a pain point (47%). (Demand Gen, 2020)
Focusing on the customer experience, starting from front-end sales to ongoing support, can increase revenue by 5% to 10%. (McKinsey & Company, 2016)
Another change in the industry is that most companies that prefer going it alone may have a hard time capitalizing on the B2B market growth. Statistics show that organizations that partner with other companies in the more global business landscape have a better shot at increasing their profits. This is primarily due to the network expansion that happens once you tap into your partner companies’ contacts.
91% of executives say that they expect their business partners to play a more significant role in their operations. (Accenture, 2017)
According to 60% of organizations, external parties influenced 35% of their annual revenue. (Accenture, 2017)
63% of B2B enterprises have collaborated with start-ups and digital ventures to improve their operations. (Accenture, 2017)
6% of companies in the B2B industry are putting more effort into building their network. (Accenture, 2017)
B2B Marketing Statistics
The world wide web has opened up many opportunities for businesses when it comes to making efficient B2B marketing strategies. It allows companies to simplify transactions for clients as well as expand their global reach with minimal effort.
However, it is best to keep in mind that with the number of other B2B vendors out there, it can be quite challenging to make your brand stand out from your competition. This is why many marketers are now paying more attention to quality content that will help buyers learn more about their company and what they have to offer. Moreover, they are increasingly using social media and emailing tactics to deliver more personalized and hands-on experiences to their prospective clients.
Some of the key B2B marketing strategies that companies use today are creating social media content (95%), creating blog posts or short articles (89%), sending email newsletters (81%), organizing in-person events (73%), publishing videos (71%). (Content Marketing Institute, 2020)
19% of B2B companies considered in-person events to be the most effective strategy for securing leads. In-person events were also effective at converting leads for 25% of B2B companies. (Content Marketing Institute, 2020)
79% of B2B marketers say that emailing is the most effective channel for demand generation. (Demand Gen, 2018)
While we’re still on the topic of content marketing, it seems that even as plenty of companies utilize it, not all can maximize its use. B2B marketing statistics show that marketers tend to overwhelm leads with product information. Sometimes, they cannot provide buyers with the kind of data they need to make an informed purchasing decision.
As you can see from the B2B marketing statistics below, customers don’t want more content—they want better content. However, it can be difficult to do this without proper planning as to what kinds of articles you should produce and where you should publish them. Luckily, there’s a long list of content marketing platforms that you can choose from to help you carry out these tasks.
69% of B2B marketers have a documented content marketing strategy, but only 42% of B2B companies consider themselves in the “sophisticated” or “mature” phase of content marketing maturity. (Content Marketing Institute, 2020)
86% of buyers often feel overwhelmed when given more than ten types of sales content while 42% feel overwhelmed when given more than five. (Showpad, 2018)
81% of early-stage B2B buyers find listicles most relevant, while 72% prefer infographics and 66% enjoy blogs. (Demand Gen, 2020)
Meanwhile, 58% of mid-stage buyers want to see assessments, 50% want webinars, and 40% are most interested in case studies. (Demand Gen, 2020)
Additionally, late-stage buyers prefer case studies (39%) and user reviews (38%). 36% of these buyers also find user reviews relevant. (Demand Gen, 2020)
Lastly, personalization and hands-on communication will play more crucial roles in the B2B marketing landscape in the coming years. Not only does this mean that marketers have to formulate more targeted campaigns, but it also goes to show that they have to make themselves easier for clients to reach.
76% of B2B buyers have increased expectations around personalized and tailored solutions to their specific needs. (Weidert Group, 2020)
97% of B2B buyers expect vendor websites to have content relevant to their company, and 96% considered it important for vendor websites to directly address industry needs and demonstrate expertise. (DemandBase, 2020)
Likewise, 97% of B2B buyers said it was important that vendor websites provided easy access to content. (DemandBase, 2020)
Providing personalized website experiences can increase sales by 19%. (Martech Advisor, 2018)
85% of B2B companies use live chat for sales and 54% use the technology for marketing. (Magellan Solutions, 2020)
Source: Content Marketing Institute
B2B Sales Statistics
Earlier, we noted that many B2B transactions start online. As you’ll see in the statistics we’ve compiled below, one reason for this is because customers are now the ones who contact vendors, and they often do this via online channels such as email, chat, and even social media. They actively research the products and services they need before they even reach out to vendors for inquiries.
Simply put, B2B vendors no longer need to put all their efforts into tapping buyers one by one. All they need to do is present the right information where their target audience will see it, and the buyers will do the rest. Of course, this is not to say that sales agents are no longer needed. Many still prefer having the option to talk to your representatives before making a purchasing decision.
Close to 70% of the B2B buyer’s journey is completed before a prospect ever reaches out to sales. (Foleon, 2020)
48% of B2B buyers rely on vendor websites when doing research for purchase decisions and doing ROI analysis. (DemandBase, 2020)
77% of B2B buyers report spending more time on research for purchase decisions compared with 2019. (Weidert Group, 2020)
53% of B2B buyers use social media as a resource during the buying process. (Martech Today, 2020)
More B2B buyers are speaking to sales reps earlier in the buying process, with 42% of buyers speaking to sales reps in the first month, compared to 33% in 2018. (Demandbase, 2020)
However, another study reports that 25% of millennial B2B buyers (now the largest purchasing demographic) rely on search when doing research at the beginning of the buying process. (Foleon, 2020)
Another great thing about the B2B sales process of today is that while it does seem more difficult now than before, it does provide quite a few perks for companies. It allows them to veer away from traditional sales processes that no longer belong to a tech-driven business landscape. It also cuts down the time they spend on contacting prospective clients. In this way, they can divert their time to more attention-demanding responsibilities.
B2B sales statistics revealed that 54% of agents find contacting prospects more difficult now than five years ago. (Sales Insight Lab, 2021)
A minimum of 50% of your initial prospects don’t require the products or services you offer. (Sales Insight Lab, 2021)
90% of decision-makers don’t respond to cold outreach. (Accenture, 2017)
The most effective lead generation tactics producing the highest ROI for B2B companies were email (50%), SEO and SEM (43%), content marketing (34%), live events (32%), and social media (23%). (Chief Marketer, 2020)
The top three reasons why B2B buyers chose a vendor over others are the vendor’s knowledge of the solution and business landscape (69%), the vendor’s knowledge of the buyer’s company and needs (65%), and the vendor’s ability to provide content that made it easier to build a business case for the purchase (62%). (Demandbase, 2019)
Top Factors in B2B Buyers' Choice in Vendors
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B2B eCommerce Statistics
Digital channels are dominating the modern business landscape, with many companies integrating ecommerce as part of their operations. With that said, we can expect that the B2B ecommerce market growth will not slow down anytime soon. In the next few years, its yield in sales is set to exponentially increase and even surpass the B2C market. If you haven’t invested in any of the best ecommerce software, then you will surely be missing out on quite a number of opportunities.
The B2B ecommerce market size reached $1.134 trillion in 2018—well above the $954 billion mark that it was projected to achieve. (Forrester, 2019)
$6.6 trillion – 2020 B2B ecommerce volume in the US. (Statista, 2020)
Experts expect that the global B2B ecommerce market sales will hit $12 trillion by 2020. (Forrester, 2019)
The B2B ecommerce market is projected to reach a value of $20.9 trillion by 2027, at a CAGR of 17.5%. (Research and Markets, 2020)
With its projected revenue by 2027, the B2B ecommerce market will outgrow B2C ecommerce sales. (Forrester, 2019)
B2B ecommerce is predicted to make up more than 12% of the overall B2B revenue by 2020. (Forrester, 2019)
However, before you roll out your ecommerce operations, it is best to note that simply having an online channel is not enough to reap the benefits of this business model. You need to bank on why customers opt for this in the first place—convenience. Among the ways to do this is to provide them with the payment options they prefer and to make your channel mobile-ready so that they can access it even on the fly.
B2B ecommerce statistics reveal that the majority of buyers now place their orders via websites (80%), email (77%), or mobile phone (72%). (BigCommerce, 2021)
80% of B2B buyers use mobile phones at various points of the buying process. (Magento Commerce, 2019)
Having a good selection of payment options is crucial to B2B ecommerce. At the top of the list are credit cards (94%), checks (51%), purchase orders (50%). Mobile wallets (26%) are also worth considering because of their growing popularity. (BigCommerce, 2021)
64% of B2B companies plan to increase their investments in ecommerce websites. (Digital Commerce 360, 2020)
35.6% of B2B companies expect an increase of up to 75% in online sales from B2B buyers. (Net Solutions, 2020)
Top eCommerce Software
Wix is a leading website-building platform that enables you to create a webshop and customize anything, from product pages to the checkout page. It is also intuitive and does not require coding knowledge, allowing you to be as creative as you want with your site.
X-cart is a full-featured shopping cart solution that gives you full control over your inventory and sales process. You can manage your webshop using a browser or you can do it via the on-premise solution.
BigCommerce is designed for businesses of all sizes. With its broad set of tools, this ecommerce app enables even small businesses to manage their web stores efficiently.
Shopify is a platform that provides you with a hosted online shopping site. Because of this, you do not have to worry about technical things like server maintenance.
3dcart is a cost-effective ecommerce site that has everything a business needs to sell products on the web. It even connects with more than 200 top business service providers for your shipping, tax, and other requirements.
B2B Technology Statistics
Technology paves the way for modernizing business processes. This is why the impact of SaaS on businesses is undeniable. In the case of B2B companies, many have started leveraging digital channels to run their operations while others turn to AI to boost efficiency.
30% of B2B companies are expected to start using AI by the end of 2020. (Flyaps, 2020)
The top digital capabilities that drove investment strategies for B2B are using data, improving customer experiences, and using multi-channel marketing. (Adobe)
50% of high-tech B2B sales are expected to come from digital channels by 2020. (Adobe)
Digital leaders in the B2B industry enjoy 5x more revenue growth than their competitors. (McKinsey & Company, 2016)
25% of B2B enterprises are expected to adopt AR technology by 2022. (BigCommerce, 2021)
In 2020, 39% of B2B companies explored AI and automation, while 33% of B2B companies looked into conversational marketing through chatbots. (MarketingCharts, 2020)
37% of B2B companies reported advanced usage of campaign measurement and analytics tools, while 33% used CRM tools with advanced functions. (Dun & Bradstreet, 2020)
Meanwhile, 25% of B2B companies plan to use marketing automation platforms in the next 12 months. (Dun & Bradstreet, 2020)
B2B companies expect to increase their spending on digital marketing by 21%. (CMO Survey, 2020)
Top ecommerce investments for B2B companies include the Internet of Things (48%), third-party online marketplaces (48%), AI technology (47%), personalization (44%), and integration with social commerce platforms (44%). (Digital Commerce 360, 2020)
B2B Challenges Statistics
While B2B has plenty of benefits to offer, it also comes with a handful of challenges. For starters, as mentioned earlier, more companies are partnering with other B2B organizations to boost revenue. While this is great for reaching more prospective buyers, it also has its downsides—the biggest one being the lack of transparency.
Once you partner with other companies, there’s a good chance that you won’t have access to their pipelines. This will make it difficult for you to pinpoint just how profitable your partnership is. What’s more, having no visibility over your partners’ progress makes it nearly impossible for you to study how you can improve your joint efforts. Luckily, you can easily roll out lead generation and coaching processes to improve relations. You can also invest in PRM if you want to make the monitoring process easy.
84% of B2B companies do not know about their partners’ pipelines. (PleinAire Strategies, 2016)
Businesses that cultivate partner relations with lead generation and coaching are 63% more likely to accomplish their revenue goals. (PleinAire Strategies, 2016)
74 % of B2B vendors that implement Partner Relationship Management (PRM) say that they have more visibility into their partners’ pipelines. (Accenture, 2018)
Implementing new technology may be one of the leading B2B industry developments of today, but it is no replacement for human intelligence. Sure, it can help you speed up your workflows here and there, but you will still need professionals to call the shots on how these workflows should be automated. The challenge for B2B companies here is how they can balance training professionals and implement new tech simultaneously. After all, both of these require a significant amount of time and effort to organize.
68% of B2B vendors believe that customer data management will drive growth for their business. (Accenture, 2017)
67% of vendors say that insightful analytics has the potential to drive the B2B ecosystem in the future. (Accenture, 2017)
19% of B2B companies say that social listening is an increasingly important tool for them. (Accenture, 2017)
Empowering customer-facing employees (19%), engaging employees with feedback (13%), designating accountability (24%), and communicating with employees to resolve systemic issues (32%) are the factors that contribute significantly to the improvement of the customer experience. (Accenture, 2017)
Last but not least, the B2B purchasing cycles seem to be getting longer and more complex. This is attributed to the easy access to information that allows buyers to be more exhaustive when it comes to assessing products and services.
If you want to make these transactions more efficient, you must provide your leads with clear and concise information about your products, ROI, pricing, and the value-added services you can provide. This can accelerate the process as it saves buyers from having to go back and forth in conversations with your sales representatives before getting the answers that they are looking for.
More than 80% of B2B companies no longer follow calendarized buying cycles. (Futurum Research, 2019)
77% of B2B buyers say that their last purchase was complex or difficult. (Magento Commerce, 2019)
According to 68% of B2B buyers, the length of the purchase cycle has increased. (DemandGen, 2020)
75% of B2B buyers agree that their purchases were a collective effort of people from a wide variety of locations, teams, and roles. (Magento, 2019)
61% of B2B buyers say that the number of stakeholders involved in a purchasing decision had increased. (DemandGen, 2020)
71% of B2B companies say that they had a formal buying committee in place to review purchasing decisions, while 70% said that they now conducted more detailed ROI analyses before making a final decision, which can contribute to longer buying cycles. (DemandGen, 2020)
The B2B buying process is longer due to the difficulty of sharing information internally (29.57%), difficulty in understanding information (32.62%), disagreements over price (37.96%), disagreements over ROI (22.71%), disagreements over product capabilities (22.87%), and unknowledgeable sales reps (12. 96%). (Showpad, 2018)
The average conversion rate for B2B wholesale buyers is 10%. (Zfort Group, 2019)
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Changes in B2B Buyers' Purchase Process
Changes in B2B Buyers' Purchase Process Purchase decisions move forward based on changing business priorities : 82
Purchase decisions move forward based on changing business priorities
Changes in B2B Buyers' Purchase Process More time is spent on researching purchases : 77
More time is spent on researching purchases
Changes in B2B Buyers' Purchase Process More personalized attention expected from vendors : 76
More personalized attention expected from vendors
Changes in B2B Buyers' Purchase Process More sources used to research and evaluate purchases : 73
More sources used to research and evaluate purchases
Changes in B2B Buyers' Purchase Process More detailed ROI analyses before the final purchase decision : 71
More detailed ROI analyses before the final purchase decision
Changes in B2B Buyers' Purchase Process Formal buying committee for reviewing purchases : 71
Formal buying committee for reviewing purchases
Source: DemandGen 2020 B2B Buyer Behavior Study
The Impact of COVID-19 on B2B Companies
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the landscape for many businesses, especially for B2B companies in most sectors. A research study by Bloomreach, for instance, found that 28% of B2B companies have needed to significantly downsize and lay off employees. The following numbers provide a more detailed picture of how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected B2B companies.
Two-thirds of B2B companies in the tourism and hospitality category report that the pandemic has significantly affected their business. (Business Insider, 2020)
Likewise, B2B companies in the segments of personal services (60%), education (52%), wholesale (46%), and manufacturing (46%) have been affected by the pandemic. (Business Insider, 2020)
47% of businesses have experienced budget-related difficulties, such as freezes on budgets and purchases. (Weidert Group, 2020)
30% of B2B companies have escalated purchases as the pandemic forced business needs to change. (Weidert Group, 2020)
90% of B2B executives and decision-makers believe that remote, digital sales methods will be part of the new normal. (McKinsey & Company, 2020)
97% of B2B buyers claim that they’re willing to make a purchase in an end-to-end, digital self-serve model. (McKinsey & Company, 2020)
3 out of 4 B2B decision-makers believe that new sales models are as effective or more than before COVID-19. (McKinsey & Company, 2020)
Only 20% to 30% of B2B buyers are willing to interact with reps face-to-face even after the pandemic. (McKinsey & Company, 2020)
Almost 4 out of 5 B2B buyers prefer video conferencing to audio/phone connections. (McKinsey & Company, 2020)
The majority of B2B companies—81%—believe that their sales teams need additional training as well as technology to be effective at remote selling. (McKinsey & Company, 2020)
Similarly, 83% of B2B companies plan to introduce a more flexible sales process to adjust to the new normal. (McKinsey & Company, 2020)
How B2B Companies Plan to Adjust to the New Normal
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Source: Global B2B decision-maker response to COVID-19 crisis
What Do These B2B Facts Mean for Your Business?
As you can see from the B2B data we’ve gathered, there’s no doubt that the industry is shifting drastically. Digital disruption, the increasing importance of customer experiences, and the growing popularity of collaboration among businesses are slowly reshaping the B2B landscape.
This might be the time for you to integrate new technology into your existing processes to make operations more efficient. You might also want to consider leveraging newer channels for marketing and sales so you can provide better and more personalized customer experience. Lastly, it might be a wise move to start collaborating with companies offering products that can complement yours to expand your network.
These only go to show that in the digital age, there are plenty of ways to ensure B2B success. However, these changes may also take a toll on the traditional marketing and sales tactics that you are using.
For starters, the purchasing process became longer, and there is more demand for transparency from buyers. This will essentially force companies to make significant changes to the way they approach their target audience and distribute content about their products and services.
Also, now might be the time to retrain employees, so they remain competitive even as you roll out new and more complex processes to accommodate the shifts in tech and customer demands.
To sum up, while this list of B2B industry statistics only scratches the surface of what to expect in the coming years, we hope that you were able to gauge where you stand amidst the changes. This way, you’ll be equipped to respond to any obstacle that comes your way as B2B moves forward into the future.
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Astrid Eira is a resident B2B expert of FinancesOnline, focusing on the SaaS niche. She specializes in accounting and human resource management software, writing honest and straightforward reviews of some of the most popular systems around. Being a small business owner herself, Astrid uses her expertise to help educate business owners and entrepreneurs on how new technology can help them run their operations. She's an avid fan of the outdoors, where you'll find her when she's not crunching numbers or testing out new software.
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