A new survey from American Express, the Global Business Spend Indicator (GBSI), examined B2B spending in Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, the U.K. and the U.S., and found that it is poised to increase this year.
“B2B spending is an important bellwether for the overall health of the economy, and the GBSI study shows U.S. businesses are investing and spending more, whether to adapt to the new ways of operating during the pandemic or to digitize and streamline their operations,” said Dean Henry, EVP of global commercial services at American Express. “It also reveals that some of the trends that have emerged or accelerated during the pandemic, such as payments automation and new approaches to managing the supply chain, are likely here to stay.”
The report predicts that Q2 spending for 2021 in the U.S. will be an average of 3.4% higher compared with the same time last year — projecting an estimated $140 billion in additional B2B spending from U.S. businesses.
According to the GBSI, U.S. businesses are also leading in payments automation with plans to continue investing. In fact, nearly half of U.S. businesses told the company they plan to automate payments over the next year. With more automation, U.S. businesses will reduce reliance on manual payment methods, such as writing checks. Additionally, almost a quarter of U.S. businesses surveyed said increasing their online presence was among their top three goals, and 39% said they plan to expand the use of virtual cards over the next year.
The GBSI said the technology category will see an increase in spending from U.S businesses, after already seeing an average increase of 4.1% last year. “This increase is most likely due to businesses focusing on new ways of working or operating — not only adding automation, but also e-commerce capabilities or website enhancements,” said the authors of the report.
Other highlights of the report included increased spending on new approaches to advertising as businesses focus on reaching new audiences. According to the GSBI, advertising, sales and marketing expenditures by B2B companies showed a 6.1% gain last year, with predictions of an additional 4.1% increase in spending for the most recent quarter.