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Nov 9, 2021 | 3 minute read

Gartner Survey Review: Digital Commerce Revenue Skyrockets with B2B Surpassing B2C

written by Emily Kathi

Industry analyst Gartner released an eye-opening look at the digital commerce landscape, largely influenced from pandemic aftershock. Based on evidence from 2021’s State of Digital Commerce Report, and 2020’s B2B Digital Commerce research, the survey examines digital commerce through the lens of multiple verticals and business models.

The results are in. Significant shifts occurred in the presence of digital commerce platforms, but also a turn towards B2B initiatives versus what has been historically B2C led.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the survey’s key statistical findings:

  • By 2025, 75% of B2B manufacturers will sell to their customers directly via digital commerce
  • By 2023, 15% of medium-to-high gross merchandise value (GMV) digital commerce organizations will have deployed their own marketplaces, thereby creating a digital ecosystem on their path to digital business
  • By 2024, 15% of B2B organizations will use digital commerce platforms to support both their customers and sales reps in all sales activities

The New Normal:

Digital commerce is becoming more mainstream. According to survey results, manufacturing leads the charge in B2B focused digital commerce initiatives. In an environment once dominated by retail, more industries across the board are adopting the digital path. Further point of interest is that as B2B businesses were hit hard by COVID-19, they were forced to adapt from a digital perspective at alarming speed to survive - or took the opportunity to accelerate their digital strategy given their new circumstances.

Maturity influences decision making:

Another key insight involves the digital maturity of buyers. As B2B buyers become more tech savvy, their experience expectations change. They expect more self-service options to avoid calls or emails and better business tooling; ultimately, they want a shift to a digital sales experience –an intuitive platform that anticipates their needs as a human representative once did.

The drive to cut cost:

So what is at the core of the shift to digital commerce? The Gartner survey points to 4 key drivers; one of which is cost savings, stemming from the automation of the sales process to a more self-service model. Cost savings is more on the minds of B2B organizations; in fact, according to the survey, almost three times as many B2B companies cited it as a motivator versus their B2C counterparts.


Omnichannel experience remains a pain point:

A major hurdle to achieving a robust digital commerce presence, as outlined by Gartner’s survey, is how a B2B company may struggle with the customer experience across channels.They struggle with the complexities and access to the tools for an optimized experience; if their existing customers can’t have a comparable, or even better than digital experience than what they currently have, they will not participate. This leads to additional insights gleaned from the survey on how B2B companies are increasingly looking for more composable solutions they can easily deploy and scale, especially those companies with large enterprise clients.


Food for thought: additional survey statistics:

  • By 2023, 80% of organizations using AI for digital commerce will achieve at least 25% improvement in customer satisfaction, revenue or cost reduction
  • By 2023, 75% of organizations selling directly to consumers will offer subscription services, but only 20% will succeed in increasing customer retention

Take a deeper dive into the digital commerce landscape as it stands today by downloading your free copy.