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B2B e-commerce in Europe - statistics & facts

In Europe, more businesses are selling their products and services to other businesses online. The B2B (business-to-business) transactions are only a sub-set of purchases that companies carry out for their products and services supply. Apart from e-commerce, orders and purchases of companies can involve different digital platforms such as EDI (electronic data interchange) or other software-based digital procurement channels. Whereas these tools are tailored to the needs of the buyers and streamline corporate processes, B2B e-commerce is pure digital commerce addressing organizations instead of private customers (i. e. B2C e-commerce).

European market growing despite difficulties

Compared 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.

Who are B2B newcomers?

The ease of purchase experience offered by marketplaces appeals B2B buyers and is opening new opportunities in the B2B service sector. In Europe, e-distributors and service providers dominate the ranking of e-commerce companies raising highest funding. As of 2022, Ankorstore stands out with a funding value of 423 million U.S. dollars, the French online wholesaler serves as a connecting platform between retailers and independent brands from several countries. Likewise, the Berlin-based startup Choco is successfully emerging in the food service sector, operating as a platform for restaurants and their suppliers.

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