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Alibaba survey reveals rapid digitization of SMBs

By Lauren Fruncillo October 21, 2020 - 7:15 pm

Alibaba.com has revealed the results of its B2B SMB Survey which shows increased digitalization and has announced the launch of their new Digitization Sprint for U.S. SMB manufacturers aiming to help accelerate the digitalization of businesses.

Key B2B SMB survey findings:

  • SMB’s have accelerated their pivot to digital: 93% of B2B companies are now conducting some portion of their business online, up from 90% in December, and 43% are utilizing ecommerce, an 8% increase over the same time period.
  • SMBs are finding opportunities internationally: even with supply chain disruptions during the pandemic, 63% of B2B companies report conducting some amount of cross border B2B trade, up from 59% in December.
  • SMB manufacturers surpassed other industries in digitization: amid the pandemic, manufacturers’ online B2B trade increased 8% – twice the rate of the overall 4% increase in all industries for the same period and tied with retail as the industries with the most digital growth. In December, U.S. manufacturers’ online B2B trade volume lagged all other industries except construction but have now passed multiple industries in their pivot to digital.

Additional survey highlights:

  • SMBs are optimistic about their business with 85% saying they are confident about the future of their business.
  • The majority of SMBs (62%) managed through the pandemic, maintaining or increasing their business when compared to 2019 levels.
  • 56% hired and retained new staff to support their ecommerce operations since the start of the pandemic, and 79% plan to hire employees over the next year to support their increased online business.
  • 42% of respondents saw increases in online B2B transactions in the past six months with more than three-quarters (75%) finding increased demand for ecommerce marketplaces such as Alibaba.com.
  • Online B2B companies are far more confident than offline: 86% of those doing business online expressing optimism in the future of their business compared with 68% of those who are not yet doing business online.
  • Cross border business is increasing in importance for B2B companies, making up an average of 25% of their business – an increase from 17% in December.
  • Respondents said key benefits of ecommerce include helping them access international markets (24%) and built-in translation services that help communicate with trading partners in different languages (16%).

Digitization Sprint for U.S. Manufacturers

Suprisingly U.S. manufacturers have been slower than other industries to adopt online sourcing and selling tools according to Alibaba.com’s survey. To help manufacturers go digital, Alibaba.com is launching its Digitization Sprint for U.S. Manufacturers program that is designed to accelerate the digitization of these businesses’ online marketing, selling and sourcing and ensure their long-term success. The program is being offered to qualified manufacturers at no cost.

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