Despite major headwinds, manufacturers and distributors turned in a solid performance in 2022. B2B manufacturers and distributors collectively grew their combined sales to $14.89 billion. That’s up 15.4% from $12.98 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce and a Digital Commerce 360 projection for December total sales.
“Sourcing bottlenecks and global logistics logjams are likely to remain challenges in 2022 along with cost pressure and inflation risk,” Deloitte says. “Steel, aluminum, and other commodity prices have surged amid shortages. The industry can expect elevated uncertainty from a range of potential disruptors globally.”
Manufacturing and distribution sales grew robustly in 2022 overall. But by the end of the fourth quarter, sales growth had slowed by about half for the first three months of the year. In the first quarter of the year, sales growth was up to about $3.66 trillion. That’s nearly 19% growth, according to data from the Commerce Department and Digital Commerce 360. But in the fourth quarter, the growth in sales slowed to just 8.5% ($3.72 trillion).
“Manufacturing has demonstrated continued strength in 2022, building on the momentum it gained emerging from the pandemic, and surpassing expectations from the prior two years,” Deloitte says. “While overall demand and production capacity have hit recent highs, there are indications that the near-term outlook may not be as bright.”
In the wake of slowing activity — and sales — B2B manufacturers want to accelerate digital transformation. That includes ecommerce and B2B marketplace development, says Deloitte.