Distributor e-commerce grew in 2020 but not as fast as in previous years

It has been a long way back digitally and otherwise for US distributors for much of the past two years.

In 2020, e-commerce sales by distributors increased 10% to $ 957 billion, even as total sales by distributors and wholesalers declined by around 5%.

Over the past 18 months, the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has literally shut down manufacturing activity in some industries and significantly slowed productivity in others, has caused major and permanent changes in the the way distributors and wholesalers do business.

The days when most sales will be processed offline only by phone, fax, email and manual order processing are quickly fading away. E-commerce and digital transformation are replacing these traditional methods in a vast change driven by a younger generation of purchasing managers who prefer to do their business purchases online.

E-commerce adoption by retailers was on the rise before the COVID-19 pandemic. From 2018 to 2019, U.S. distributors increased their combined total digital sales – including e-commerce, electronic procurement, and electronic data interchange (EDI) – by 8.4% to $ 2.57 trillion, according to data and analysis of the all-new Distributor 300 2021. Digital Commerce 360 ​​research report.

B2B e-commerce sales alone have grown even faster – by 22% year on year, from $ 712.8 billion in 2018 to $ 870.0 billion in 2019. B2B e-commerce sales of distributors increased in 2020, but not as rapidly as the pandemic devastated the U.S. economy.

In 2020, e-commerce sales of distributors increased 10% to $ 957 billion, even as total sales of distributors and wholesalers declined by about 5% to about $ 5.80 trillion, compared to approximately $ 6.01 trillion in 2019.

Digital sales increased even as total sales declined, as purchasing managers shifted to more online shopping of commercial goods and services. As distribution branches closed temporarily or operated on shorter hours and limited inventory, and other traditional sales channels closed due to the pandemic, the pace of B2B e-commerce has accelerated.

Click here to read more about the 2021 Distributor 300 research report.

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