Alibaba 3rd U.S. B2B Small and Medium Business Survey

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Alibaba have unveiled the results of the third Alibaba U.S. B2B Small and Medium Business Survey which captured current SMB insights and sentiments and compared the findings to previous surveys conducted in December 2019, two months before the pandemic reached the U.S., and mid-pandemic in September 2020.

Results from the latest survey of 2,401 U.S. SMBs conducting B2B business found nearly three-quarters (74%) are optimistic about the economy, which surpassed the pre-pandemic level of 62%, despite the current supply chain, inflation and labor market challenges. Many are also expanding their digital commerce and exploring international channels: about half (47%) of U.S. B2B SMB trade is now through ecommerce, a nearly 12 percentage point jump in two years, and 70% of SMBs are conducting international B2B trade, compared to 59% in December 2019.

Getting Digital is No Longer a Nice to Have

Digitised businesses reported even higher levels of optimism than their offline peers, bolstered by stronger sales performance, larger anticipated investments and more global exports:

  • Digitised SMBs far outperformed businesses that are still operating offline in terms of sales and sourcing: 61% of digitised businesses saw increases in sales in 2021, compared to just 34% of those who are not online.
  • Digitised SMBs are expected to invest more in growth in 2022: Digitised businesses are more likely than non-digitised businesses to make investments in 2022, including hiring more full-time employees (48% vs. 32%) and increasing capital expenditures (49% vs. 33%).
  • Digitised businesses are better equipped to go global: 39% of digitised businesses expect to grow exports in 2022, versus just 13% of those who rely on offline channels.
  • Digitised SMBs are significantly more confident about the future of their own business: 91% of digitised businesses are confident in the future of their business, compared to 80% of non-digitised businesses.

We saw nearly two decades of change take place in early 2020 as business owners pushed to get digital amid the global health crisis and now, two years later, it’s clear that their flexibility and grit has paid off.

Our proprietary research into an important and growing segment of the U.S. economy finds that getting digital is critical to success, with digitised businesses far outperforming in sales, exports, and investments versus those still operating offline using analogue tools and processes. These trends are accelerating the success of U.S. SMBs as they leverage the tremendous digital tools and infrastructure available with to make it easy to sell and source globally.

– John Caplan, President of North America and Europe, Alibaba

During the quarter that ended on December 31, the Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) of transactions completed on grew around 50% year-over-year. Revenues for the business unit grew by 29% year-over-year, particularly the value-added service revenue (up 43% year-over-year), which includes services such as global logistics and Trade Assurance.

March Expo 2022: Unlocking Even More Opportunity for U.S. SMBs

To help entrepreneurs and business executives tap into the global digital ecommerce marketplace to create new possibilities for their businesses, is kicking off the annual March Expo 2022, a month-long online trade event that connects millions of buyers and suppliers around the world in 200+ countries and regions.


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