We had expected a sharp increase in the adoption of ecommerce in 2020 with the shifts in buying behavior due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That acceleration in adoption was confirmed in our recent update to the adoption tracking, where we track more than 3,000 B2B companies, along with our annual benchmarking survey on the 2020 State of eCommerce in Distribution.
The adoption rate soared with a weighted 26.3% increase from 2019 to 2020.
The percentage of distribution companies offering ecommerce varied widely depending on company size and sector, but an astounding increase was seen among companies under $50 million, with about a quarter saying they now offer ecommerce, up from 13.4% in 2019.
Surveys – ours and others – have reinforced the idea that while COVID-19 spurred this shift, most in B2B don’t expect a full return to how things were pre-pandemic.
As adoption rates rise, maturity (defined by the percent of revenue that goes through ecommerce) also continued to grow in 2020. In fact, for the first time, the number of companies that say their ecommerce has reached the mature stage (greater than 10% of revenue through ecommerce) is 50%. By comparison it was 42% last year.
Maturity matters because as a distributor’s offering grows more mature, they gain efficiencies that improve cost to serve and drive productivity across their business, which makes it harder to compete with them.
The biggest change in 2020 was in the leader stage, where a big jump occurred from 2019 at 26% to 2020 at 34%. Conversely, the number of companies in the nascent stage dropped from 43% in 2019 to 36% in 2020.
By segment, JanSan distributors show the greatest maturity in ecommerce revenues.
In part one of our webinar, we dig into these results and what they mean for distributors that haven’t yet invested in ecommerce as part of a broader omnichannel strategy.