Category Research: B2B Trends
The Business-To-Business (B2B) sector in Canada is experiencing change in the way it uses technology to reach out for sales. Two trends in this space are the use of blockchain technology and the growth of B2B apps and Software as a Service (SaaS).
Blockchain for Security and Supply Chain
- While blockchain technology is mostly associated with cryptocurrency, its use in business in Canada has been growing since 2018.
- Blockchain allows for transactions to be tracked securely and consistently over time in individual "blocks" that cannot be changed by a person. This allows for a secure record of what has occurred to be maintained, which enhances the security on those transactions.
- Canadian companies on the whole have begun to invest in blockchain, with trade associations and studies highlighting the investment in this space in the B2B area, mainly for payment security and supply chain management.
- PayStand and Visa both launched their blockchain backed B2B payment programs in the past 18 months.
- Beyond payment security, blockchain is used to support supply chain management. Walmart Canada began using blockchain technology for its B2B work with carriers in 2019 with this goal in mind. Additional research identifies the growth of use in blockchain in pharmacy supply chains to support these types of B2B transactions specifically in Canada.
- As more businesses move into blockchain to support B2B activities like payments and tracking, the trend is to see further expansion in this area.
More SaaS Products and Apps
- With the start of 5G technology in 2020, B2B groups are using more apps and SaaS to get their products and services to customers via mobile devices.
- SaaS is primarily a B2B tool, meaning that products are built for business to use. Apps are examples of SaaS.
- Most SaaS tools are designed to help reduce the cost of conducting business, by offering a services critical to standard business functions such as advertising support, mobile development, or even accounting support.
- Canada has been growing in the area of B2B SaaS companies since the late 2000s, nearly doubling the number of companies in that market. Current studies show no sign of that trend stopping. In 2019, the growth in investment in SaaS companies in Canada rose by almost $4 billion over the previous year, and a main venture capital group lists $45.7 million in SaaS investments in Canada.
- In The Globe and Mail's ranking of the top growth companies in Canada in 2019, two of the top five involved apps or SaaS to support B2B work. These two companies were Fleet Optics Inc, which has an app for tracking package deliveries and Auvik, which provides SaaS for business network management.
- Combing the growth in available SaaS tools in Canada with the increased growth in network availability, the trend is to see increased growth in using SaaS or apps in B2B in Canada.
We first did a search for broad trends in the Canadian B2B marketplace by reviewing trade publications for B2B business, studies on the general business market in Canada, and business news articles to see what they identified as trends. This led to a long list of trends, which were then each investigated by reviewing the behaviors of some of the largest B2B businesses in Canada to determine how widespread the trend may be. For the two main trends identified, research was done on their overall market size and then examples of individual businesses following these trends.