A DHL Express study predicts strong growth for the B2B E-commerce market in the coming years and revealed that by 2025, 80% of all B2B sales interactions between suppliers and professional buyers will take place in digital channels.
In its recently released whitepaper "The Ultimate B2B E-commerce Guide: Tradition is out. Digital is in" — DHL noted that the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the pace of digitalisation and the purchasing behaviour of millennials, who are now of an age to be the professional B2B decision-makers, are the main drivers of this global E-commerce growth.
"What is predicted for the future of the B2B sector, has already been visible in the significant B2C E-commerce rise over the last years, where DHL Express experienced high growth rates particularly during the holiday peak seasons (e.g. Easter, Christmas) and mega shopping days (e.g. Black Friday, Cyber Monday)," it said in a statement.
Within the DHL Express network, the logistics giant said in total the B2C E-commerce volumes increased in 2020 by approximately 40%, compared to 2019.
"This positive business development is also reflected in the FY2020 financial results of the company: with total revenue of €19.1 billion (+11.9% year-on-year) and EBIT of €2.7 billion (+34.9%) the Express division of Deutsche Post DHL Group closed 2020 with the best result in its more than 50 years history," DHL said.
Acceleration of e-commerce growth through Covid-19
It noted that its presence in more than 220 countries and territories helped consumers and businesses to stay connected by enabling them to trade around the world — even during the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Even in times of worldwide shutdowns, globalization has shown its resilience, fuelled by digitalization and the power of global trade", says John Pearson, CEO of DHL Express.
"These trends have led to an ever-growing number of consumers shifting their shopping activities online. The pandemic has accelerated this development like never before, with a sharp rise in businesses selling their goods in the global marketplace. E-commerce and global logistics thus provided the key to unlock local shutdowns, keep economies running and mitigate the impact of Covid-19 for many of our customers."
DHL noted that global sales on B2B E-commerce sites and marketplaces had also been increasing even before the pandemic rising by 18.2% to US$12.2 trillion, outpacing the market size of the B2C sector.
"Through Covid-19 and the resulting acceleration of digitalisation, this global B2B E-commerce volume is estimated to reach US$20.9 trillion by 20272," the statement added.
Michiel Greeven, executive vice president of Global Sales at DHL Express said online selling platforms are crucial for business success and that would mean an additional need for global Express shipping.
"We have been facing the pandemic for over one year now. A year that showed how nearly a decade of digital evolution happened in just a few months' time, with online shopping and cross-border shipping as the new normal," Greeven said.
"This is true not only for B2C retailers but also in terms of B2B E-commerce as companies started recognising that online selling platforms are crucial for their business success, today and in the future."
Tech-savvy generation to drive continuous growth
The Whitepaper, compiled by DHL Express, also noted that factors driving the growth of the global B2B E-commerce market include globalisation and digitalisation — and also a tech-savy generation.
"Millennials account for 73% of all professional B2B purchasing decisions. As digital natives, their experiences in the B2C-sector translate to high expectations when making B2B transactions, pushing companies to invest in digital solutions, such as selling platforms, while offering great growth potential," DHL said.
"If B2B businesses want to make the most out of the new cross-border and E-commerce opportunities they need to start adapting to the changing buying behaviours,"said Leendert van Delft, vice president Global Sales Programs and Global E-commerce.
In 2020 DHL Express delivered 484 million shipments in total for its customers (B2C and B2B) around the globe, around 9% more per day than in 2019.
To adapt to this significant growth of its network, DHL Express continues to invest annually more than €1 billion in new state-of-the-art facilities around the world to multiply its sorting capacity (+65% since 2013) and add new freighter aircraft to its fleet (+20 units year-on-year).
DHL Express already recently announced the purchase of eight more Boeing B777 wide-body freighters and a partnership with Smartlynx Malta to add two Airbus A321 to its fleet in anticipation for the global e-commerce boom.