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Online B2B purchases surge during lockdown

(Image credit: Image Credit: Rawpixel / Pixabay)

Thanks to the Covid-19 lockdown, even B2B purchases are shifting away from in-person deals to digital channels. This is according to a new report from Wunderman Thompson Commerce, which polled 200 B2B professionals in the UK to learn more about the B2B commerce landscape.

According to the B2B Future Shopper Report 2020, the number of sales businesses made directly with salespeople dropped from 44 percent before Covid-19, to just 16 percent after. At the same time, the number of online purchases rose by almost a quarter (24 percent) compared to last year.

Almost half of all B2B purchases (46 percent) are now being made through digital commerce channels.

What’s more, consumers changed their behaviour to such an extent that businesses were forced to switch suppliers and focus on new ways of working. The report states that, due to Covid-19, almost a fifth (18 percent) of buyers changed their supplier for all purchases.

But just because they were forced to do business online, that doesn’t mean all firms are in favour of the shift. Almost half (43 percent) still see digital purchases as more complicated than buying offline.

“We’ve seen Covid-19 dramatically shake up consumer retail, so it is unsurprising to see a similar pattern in the B2B landscape. However, with supply chains heavily impacted by the pandemic, businesses are struggling to match this demand and need to have the infrastructure in place to cope with surging online sales,” said Neil Stewart, CEO at Wunderman Thompson Commerce.

“Many buyers may not be comfortable, or even able, to purchase items in person and will therefore look to the plethora of other options available online. The number one priority for B2B retailers over the coming months will be to ensure they can provide the same services online as they do via physical channels.”