Small business now counts more than ever on B2B ecommerce

Small businesses counted on ecommerce to get them through the pandemic. These expectations habe been met, but growing sales online remains a top priority, as says a new survey data from

Alibaba’s vice president Andrew Zheng admits that 2022 brought significant challenges for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) by volatile energy prices and soaring inflation.

Using ecommerce was the top strategy for survival, with 36% of small businesses attempting ecommerce or digitalization.

The survey of 1,000 small business owners finds that:

  • 70% of small companies surveyed said the impact of COVID-19 drove them to make greater investments in digital technologies.
  • B2B online sellers will likely see greater competition in 2023 as businesses continue to adapt to the rising need for digitization.
  • Businesses with the smallest number of employees were more negatively affected by last year’s challenging market.
    • 25% of survey respondents with under 10 employees shut down completely.
    • Only 13% of respondents with over 250 employees had the same results.
  • Small businesses got creative to keep sales up and survive the post-pandemic pressures.
    • Using ecommerce was the top strategy for survival, with 36% of small businesses attempting ecommerce or digitalization throughout and directly following the pandemic.
    • Many flocked to B2B ecommerce marketplaces and continue to use those resources in today’s market.
    • 54% of small businesses surveyed responded that B2B ecommerce platforms remain critical to their current operations.
  • To capture more sales and increase customers, over a third (32%) of small businesses took to expanding sales channels in order to survive the pandemic’s effects. Other tactics used included:
    • Cutting expenses (13%).
    • Seeking support from local governments or institutions (11%).
    • Investing in research and development to upgrade products (8%).

Digital selling provided an opportunity for these businesses to reach customers locally and globally without stretching operating budgets, Zheng says. But B2B sellers must stay ahead of digital export trends in 2023 to find continued success.

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