Charts: B2B Buyers Prefer Ecommerce

A majority of B2B buyers in the U.S. now prefer ecommerce to in-person, telephone, or any other purchase channel. That’s according to a recent survey from McKinsey & Company. In “Busting the five biggest B2B e-commerce myths,” a January 2022 article in its “B2B Pulse” series, McKinsey dispels the notion that B2B buyers shun digital transactions.

In 2021 alone, many U.S. buyers shifted their preferences to online from in-person. Wholesalers, distributors, and manufacturers stated in the survey that ecommerce is now their most effective sales channel.

Research published by Statista in January 2022 supports the results of the McKinsey survey. Statista, in cooperation with Sana Commerce, a B2B platform, surveyed 1,200 worldwide B2B buyers in August 2021. Fifty percent of respondents said ecommerce was their “most used” purchase channel.

The McKinsey survey asked B2B suppliers about their ecommerce priorities compared to in-person sales for four key functions: (i) product and service availability, (ii) guarantees and warranties, (iii) shipping and delivery options, and (iv) personalized recommendations.

Most respondents replied their ecommerce capabilities were equal to or better than in-person sales for all four functions.

Some observers claim B2B buyers use ecommerce only for smaller purchases. The McKinsey survey dispelled that notion, too, asking buyers to disclose their maximum per-transaction online spend. Seventy-seven percent of respondents stated they would purchase at least $50,000 in a single online transaction. Twenty percent said at least $500,000, and 15% stated they would place a single $1 million order online.

Adel Boukarroum
Adel Boukarroum
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