The reemergence of B2B marketplaces offers new options for buyers and sellers. Even while mega players like Alibaba and Amazon are getting the headlines, dozens of specialized vertical marketplaces are emerging in their shadows. Ahead of our session at Summit 2020 on marketplaces, we’ll be spotlighting different industries where marketplaces are starting up, getting funding, and becoming go-to sites in their sectors. Clients can see the full range of verticals we are tracking and options for indirect and direct purchasing in our latest report, “Forrester Infographic: Master Emerging B2B Marketplaces.”

In this post, we’ll explore the chemicals sector. With the COVID-19 crisis, everything from hand sanitizer to testing chemicals has been in short supply, creating a need for second sources and new options for buyers. Meanwhile, like most manufacturing sectors, chemical suppliers continue to look for new online selling options, plus ways to promote their products and gather new market insights. Whether you are buying or selling raw materials or other supplies, old-school approaches have often been laborious and expensive, requiring extensive research, negotiations, and networks. Enter a new breed of online marketplaces, which aim to simplify the buyer journey and create new sales opportunities for sellers tailored to the unique needs of their sector. Here are several options we are tracking:

  • CheMondis is a subsidiary of Lanxess, a Germany-based chemicals manufacturer. Founded in 2018, it boasts more than 45,000 products with over 1,500 companies actively using the platform. Currently, the site has a gross merchandise volume (GMV) of nearly $200 million and operates in 15 European countries, with plans to expand to the US in the second half of 2020.
  • Molbase is a China-based chemicals marketplace focused mostly on small- and medium-sized businesses. According to the company, as of December 31, 2018, the platform had over 200,000 registered users with a GMV of $24.9B. Molbase offers nearly 6,500 different products on its marketplace.
  • LabNetwork is a subsidiary of WuXi AppTec, based in China. It operates globally, providing chemical compounds for medicinal chemistry and drug discovery. Currently, the platform offers nearly 3.5 million products from 1,120 suppliers. LabNetwork has a cool feature that allows users to draw molecular structures to search its chemical catalog.
  • ChemSec is a Sweden-based nonprofit organization that has branched into the chemical marketplace space in order to connect buyers to hazardous chemical alternatives. Its marketplace is more of a directory currently but still facilitates connections between suppliers and buyers. ChemSec’s supporters include H&M, HP, and IKEA, and companies such as Walgreens have promoted ChemSec to its suppliers, according to Chemical Watch.

As we have predicted, marketplaces will gain momentum across multiple tech and industrial categories, and we see upward of hundreds of B2B marketplaces launched in the next year. Future blogs will spotlight the construction, aerospace, and electronics marketplaces, to name only a few.

In the meantime, we would welcome an inquiry on our research — and for more information on how to rethink your marketplace strategy as a seller or buyer, clients can check out our foundational research below:

(Alessia Stewart contributed to this blog.)