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B2B Explore insights impacting the B2B environment, including production and supply network, and the trends that are evolving the global consumption of ingredients and packaging materials across a changing consumer goods marketplace.

B2B Channels Can Offer New Growth as Consumer Demand Remains Weak

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The ongoing cost-of-living crisis is expected to impact consumer demand in 2024. To counter this, companies can focus on B2B sales channels, particularly in the offices and healthcare sectors, which are forecast to maintain steady revenue growth. Asia, in particular, is seen as the most attractive growth market for B2B sales of consumer goods, with India, Indonesia, Malaysia and China being the key markets.

B2B channels can cushion slower growth from consumers

Slower consumer income growth and the ongoing cost-of-living crisis are forecast to weigh on consumer demand in 2024. Globally, disposable per capita income is forecast to grow by only 1.1% in real terms in 2024.

B2B sales channels could be an alternative for companies and help cushion some of the negative effects from the consumer side. B2B sales channels, such as offices and healthcare, are forecast to maintain steady revenue growth in the largest economies by 2028 and could help to sustain revenue growth for the selling companies. The greater revenue growth of industries is also a potential indicator of lower sensitivity to potential price increases, as stronger sales help to maintain stable profit margins.

Overall, sellers of food products, computers and mobile phones as well as furniture companies have the best opportunity to expand their sales through B2B sales channels. Sustained economic growth in the Asian countries and the AI boom are expected to lift demand for electronics from the offices sector. Stable growth and new employment opportunities in the global offices sector are also expected to support B2B demand for food products and office furniture.

Chart showing Spending Growth Potential by Channel in Selected Countries 2023-2028

Asia still offers the best growth opportunities for companies selling into the B2B sector

Despite the recent economic slowdown, Asia remains the most attractive growth market for B2B sales of consumer goods. The region is forecast to account for almost one third of global B2B value growth over 2024-2025, with the most lucrative business opportunities in India, Indonesia and Malaysia. China will also remain an important B2B market for consumer goods in Asia Pacific despite slower economic growth, as it accounted for 66% of total value sales in 2023.

When selling consumer goods in Asia’s B2B market, understanding the target industries will be key. Although offices is the largest B2B sales channel in all countries, some countries have a broader channel mix to work with. For example, public administration will be a key target channel in Bangladesh, Pakistan and India. Companies that have the right product portfolio for each market are best positioned to win.

Table showing Leading B2B Sales Channels in Selected Countries 2023-2028

E-commerce platforms and AI tools to ease transition to B2B sales channels

Expansion into B2B sales channels can be an attractive strategy for many companies; yet, at the same time, companies may face a challenge in how to reach customers. Expansion into B2B markets can require different sales, delivery and marketing methods.

Digital commerce and online sales platforms are among the solutions that could ease the transition to B2B sales channels.

The use of digital sales platforms can help to expand geographic client outreach and simplify sales processes

Source: Euromonitor International

Moreover, sales platforms can also offer integrated order management and payment solutions, in turn easing the transition to new sales channels.

Most importantly, AI solutions promise to improve sales efficiency and customisation for the B2B clients. B2B marketing typically lags behind B2C in terms of new approaches and technologies. However, in recent years, companies have been starting to invest in AI solutions for the B2B marketplace. Companies have started to use AI to optimise SEO and automate some of the interactions with the clients. The leading market players have also started to deploy targeted marketing campaigns based on B2B customer data, thus providing a considerably more personalised experience, which translates into revenue growth.

Over the long term, companies using AI solutions are expected to better predict demand peaks, improve product customisation and, in turn, the customer experience in the B2B marketplace.

More insights on the key B2B market trends and future opportunities are available in our strategy briefing, Key B2B Market Trends in 2024 and Beyond.

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