European market growing despite difficultiesCompared to other world regions, Europe represents a small B2B e-commerce market, accounting for nearly six percent of the global gross merchandise volume (GMV). As a matter of fact, nearly 80 percent of the global GMV is due to manufacturers and sellers based in the APAC area. However, European countries are receivers of cross-border e-commerce from other regions, as the ranking of export countries for Chinese B2B e-commerce sellers shows.
Over the last years, a sequence of disruptions – the COVID-19 pandemic, Brexit, supply chain shortages, and inflation – have been threatening B2B e-commerce’s growth in Europe. Nevertheless, the estimates for sales revenue related to physical commodities show a significant increase of the B2B e-commerce revenue for all EU countries. For instance, in Germany, it was estimated at 204 billion U.S. dollars in 2021 and forecast to reach almost 313 billion U.S dollars by 2025.
Since 2013, the number of enterprises making B2B e-commerce sales through websites has slightly increased in the European Union, mirroring the low usage rate of e-commerce (compared to other sale channels) among European manufacturers. Latest surveys carried out in the Nordics and Poland suggest the main difficulties in launching selling activities online for B2B companies. In Scandinavia, nearly one-third of B2B professionals struggled to replace or partially integrate personal sales with online platforms, while about the same share of Polish B2B companies had to deal with increased IT and marketing costs.