Posti’s survey: B2B buyers believe in much faster growth of B2B e-commerce than B2B sellers


According to Statistics Finland, the total value of online sales by Finnish companies was EUR 23 billion in 2018. Nearly two thirds (65%) of this value was generated by B2B e-commerce. In the future, the role of B2B e-commerce may be even more significant as B2B sellers and buyers think that B2B e-commerce will grow clearly in Finland during the next five years. However, buyers’ estimate of the growth pace of e-commerce is much higher than sellers’ estimate.

This, among other things, was revealed by the recent survey conducted by Posti and Kantar TNS, which analyzed the current state of Finnish B2B e-commerce as well as the expectations for the next five years.

Seller organizations were asked to estimate how much of their sales will be digital sales or B2B e-commerce in five years. They believe that in 2025, digital sales and B2B e-commerce will account for an average of 33 percent of the company’s total sales. The growth forecast is moderate considering that the same companies estimate that the current share is on average 21 percent.

On the other hand, B2B buyers believe that in 2025, already more than half (51%) of the company’s all indirect purchases will be made through digital channels. Nearly two thirds (64%) of buyer companies estimate that they will make more purchases in B2B online stores in the next five years.

According to B2B buyers, the role of e-commerce in B2B trade will become stronger whereas the role of physical stores and sales representatives will decline. Nearly half of buyers estimate that they will reduce visits to physical stores (44%) and make fewer purchases through sales representatives (45%) in the next five years.

“In the future, B2B buyers will be increasingly willing to do business online. According to the survey, they are also ready to change their purchase procedures quickly. Experiences and expectations from B2C e-commerce also influence B2B e-commerce: the customer expects the online store to be fast and easy to use. The price must be right but what seals the deal is the smooth purchase and delivery process,” says Matti Pohjanheimo, Business Manager, Parcel & eCommerce at Posti.

Companies use many kinds of purchasing methods and, at the moment, the role of traditional methods is still relatively significant in B2B trade. According to Posti’s survey, the most common way to make indirect purchases is to place an order by phone or by email. A total of 85 percent of the responding companies use these channels.

However, more than two thirds (68%) of B2B buyers also use B2B online stores. On the other hand, three in ten seller companies reported not having any digital B2B sales channels.