Today, Alibaba.com, the B2B business unit of Alibaba Group (NYSE: BABA), shared the results of its brand new “Alibaba.com U.S. Small and Medium Business (SMB) Confidence Survey” and introduced “B2B Tuesday,” a major new awareness initiative to spotlight, celebrate and support B2B-focused U.S. SMBs, highlight their contributions to the U.S. economy and help them capture the global ecommerce opportunity.
What is “B2B Tuesday”?
B2B Tuesday will be celebrated every Tuesday by Alibaba.com and other like-minded organizations. Together, the B2B Tuesday community promotes the successes of U.S. B2B SMBs, share insights and resources to help them grow and make it easier for U.S. SMBs to access the $23.9 trillion global B2B ecommerce opportunity – which is six times the size of the B2C ecommerce market. B2B Tuesday will feature B2B success stories, in-person events, new platform offerings, educational content, and more.
Highlights from the Alibaba.com U.S. SMB Confidence Survey
Alibaba.com commissioned an independent research company to conduct the Alibaba.com U.S. SMB Confidence Survey, of 5,000 U.S. SMBs conducting B2B business (more details on methodology below). Key findings of the research include:
U.S. B2B SMBs are optimistic:
- A strong majority (62%) of B2B businesses are optimistic about the economy, saying the economy is gaining momentum or on its way up with a bright future – while only 4% believed the economy is at risk of a downturn.
- 46% of respondents are expecting their online B2B businesses to increase in volume – with 27% of those expecting an increase of 25% or more. 72% anticipate increased revenue and 60% expect increased procurement budgets.
- 57% hired employees to support their online B2B buying and selling, and, among the 46% of companies that expect online growth over the next year, eight in ten of companies surveyed plan to hire at least one employee as a result of their online activity.
U.S. B2B SMBs are digitizing:
- 54% of companies recognize the impact ecommerce platforms like Alibaba.com can play in their businesses, but the bulk of their online business activity is still done by email and website order forms.
- 90% of U.S. SMBs surveyed reported doing at least some of their B2B selling or sourcing online.
- The top benefits sellers cite from selling online are: reaching more customers (59%), finding customers more quickly (47%) and increasing profit margins (44%).
- Buyers cite the top benefits for online sourcing as finding suppliers more quickly (53%), reducing the need for travel (44%), greater purchasing power (38%) and higher profit margins (38%).
U.S. B2B SMBs are globalizing:
- The majority (59%) of B2B companies surveyed by Alibaba.com report conducting some cross border trade – a far greater rate than the 1% of U.S. businesses that are cross border1.
- Cross border business makes up an average of 17% of the business of B2B companies surveyed.
- Surveyed businesses cited the following key benefits of cross border trade: more customers and more choice in suppliers (50%); revenue growth (47%); and increased profit margins (41%).
- The top three regions generating the most interest among U.S. B2B businesses surveyed include the neighboring North American countries of Canada and Mexico (45%), Europe (21%) and China, Japan and Korea (17%).
“Strong SMB confidence among American business owners and entrepreneurs, plus the growth from digitizing of their business and doing business globally means the future is bright for U.S. SMBs,” said John Caplan, head of North America B2B at Alibaba Group. “Less than one third of businesses we surveyed have been doing business online for more than five years. That means there is an enormous opportunity for U.S. SMBs to digitize and grow their businesses globally with ease. And B2B Tuesday is one more example of how Alibaba.com is here to help.”
Additional data, analysis and insights from the first Alibaba.com U.S. SMB Confidence Survey will be shared on future B2B Tuesdays.
Calling All U.S. SMBs
The first B2B Tuesday will be celebrated with an “Alibaba.com Build Up” event, featuring a turbocharged line-up of SMBs and industry experts held at Alibaba.com’s NYC office in the Meatpacking District. Alibaba.com will present the results of its U.S. SMB Confidence Survey. Attendees will hear directly from Alibaba.com’s SMB customers who are already driving business success using the platform during a panel discussion with Chad Michael, CTO from LTA International, an Alibaba.com seller (who made $1.4 million in sales on Alibaba.com in the last 12 months) and Owen Franklin, founder and CEO of Blue Summit Supplies, an Alibaba.com buyer who has globalized his supplier base and expand his margins. The panel will be moderated by global ecommerce influencer, Nicole Reyhle, the founder and publisher of Retail Minded. Register here to attend in person.
“B2B Tuesday marks a major acceleration of our momentum since opening our platform to U.S. sellers,” said John Caplan, “Since July 2019, we have connected with more than 10,000 CEOs, entrepreneurs and innovators around the country. With hundreds of events in the pipeline, we are eager to have face-to-face conversations to share our understanding of the global B2B ecommerce opportunity and provide real, hands-on support from Alibaba.com experts in accessing growth globally online.”
Alibaba.com is actively seeking and will announce new members of the B2B Tuesday community on coming Tuesdays, rallying this community around the #B2BTuesday hashtag and the B2B Tuesday website. Additional information on upcoming events in other cities can be found at Alibaba.com/buildup.
Based on the 2016 U.S. Census Bureau report, “A Profile of U.S. Importing and Exporting Companies, 2015-2016” with total U.S. importers and exporters (413,325) in relation to the total number of U.S. businesses (32.57 million) as reported in the U.S. Census Bureau’s “County Business Patterns and Nonemployer Statistics Combined Report”.
The Alibaba.com U.S. Small and Medium Business (SMB) Confidence Survey: Research Methodology
Alibaba.com commissioned leading B2B research firm, Lucid, to conduct the first-ever Alibaba.com U.S. Small and Medium Business (SMB) Confidence Survey on behalf of Alibaba.com. The sample was collected using a double opt in online panel sample and conducted anonymously from December 23-30, 2019. The survey targeted decision makers at U.S. companies that buy or sell some amount of goods and materials with other businesses. The study has an overall margin of error of ±1.20% at the 95% confidence level.
The first business unit of Alibaba Group, Alibaba.com is a leading platform for global B2B e-commerce that aims to make it easy to do business anywhere. Launched in 1999, Alibaba.com is engaged in services covering all aspects of commerce, including providing businesses with tools that help reach a global audience for their products and helping buyers discover products, find suppliers, and place orders online fast and efficiently. It serves millions of buyers and suppliers from over 200 countries and regions around the world.
About Alibaba Group
Alibaba Group’s mission is to make it easy to do business anywhere. The company aims to build the future infrastructure of commerce. It envisions that its customers will meet, work and live at Alibaba, and that it will be a company that lasts at least 102 years.