Especially since the launch of ChatGPT on November 30, 2022, the topic of artificial intelligence (AI) in Germany has experienced another substantial boost. But what do the numbers say?

In this article, we look at the current usage of AI in German B2B companies, with a particular focus on B2B wholesale. We also look at what companies already using AI are reporting: What are their experiences?

Finally, we look at surveys that explore the assessment of the future importance of AI for B2B companies.

Let’s get started!

Use of AI in German B2B companies

A business survey by the Ifo Institute found that 13.3% of German companies already use artificial intelligence. 9.2% of companies have concrete plans to use AI, and a complete 36.7% are discussing possible application scenarios.

The figures show that many companies in Germany are still in the early stages of using artificial intelligence. A closer look at the industries is also fascinating. 9.1% of B2B wholesale companies already use artificial intelligence, putting them in second to last place behind trade, retail, services and manufacturing. However, 35.2% of wholesale companies in Germany are discussing possible use cases for AI, which means a lot is happening in the wholesale sector regarding artificial intelligence. That is not surprising, as wholesale companies are currently under enormous pressure: competitive pressure, skills shortages, and shrinking margins – all issues affecting this critical sector of the economy. We’ve already written an article looking at specific use cases for AI in wholesale.

The results of the “KI Monitor 2022” are also exciting. The AI Monitor is an expert opinion commissioned by the German Digital Economy Association. This report aims to document the development and use of artificial intelligence in Germany.

According to this data, just under 19% of companies in industry and industry-related services use AI in 2022 (Rusche et al. 2022, p. 14 f.). The exciting thing here is the sharp increase, as only two years earlier (2020), the figure was around 10%.

Accordingly, we see a clear trend towards “pro AI” in German B2B companies.

AI Usage Experiences in B2B Companies.

A global survey on AI by McKinsey shows that 65% of companies that have deployed AI in marketing and sales have seen revenue increases. And 41% experienced cost reductions. These are significant numbers, proving AI’s practical benefits in the business world.

A study called “Potentials of Weak Artificial Intelligence for Operational Resource Efficiency” took place only in Germany and was written by Deloitte and Fraunhofer IPA.

First, the study shows that the top four motivations for deploying artificial intelligence in organizations are cost savings (25.7%), quality improvements (22.9%), time savings (20%), and competitive advantage (18.6%).

The study’s survey of experts found that artificial intelligence helps companies save resources and increase efficiency. However, a detailed evaluation has not yet been possible due to a lack of data.

It is interesting to note that the savings potential of AI tends to be overestimated before its deployment. However, Deloitte attributes this partly to inaccuracies and empirical values due to a lack of data. It is easy to imagine that expectations of artificial intelligence are overstated in some organizations. Realistic expectations of this technology are essential for successful deployment. “New technologies such as artificial intelligence are overestimated in the short term and underestimated in the long term” – by Futurologist and scientist Roy Charles Amara.

But the good news is that despite some heightened expectations, many respondents still see enormous potential in the application of AI. For example, AI is currently part of the business strategy of both large enterprises (60.6%) and SMEs (66.7%).

The experts identified the following key success factors: the use of existing AI solutions, standardized interfaces and open-source solutions, as well as the networking and training of AI users and AI teams.

At the same time, there are still significant hurdles to overcome. These include a lack of in-house expertise and high implementation costs.


Assessments of the Future

The artificial intelligence market continues to evolve rapidly. That is confirmed by the results of the “AI Study 2022: Accelerating AI Transformation“. A whopping 94% of respondents worldwide agree that this technology is critical to the future development of their business. Interestingly, German companies are more reserved, with only 87% emphasizing the importance of AI solutions over the next five years. A similar picture emerges regarding AI investments: On average, 76% of global respondents report an increase in their investments in AI, compared to 70% of German respondents.

There is a risk that German companies must fully exploit AI’s potential compared to their international competitors. In other countries, more companies recognize the strategic importance of AI technologies and are investing in the future accordingly.

The McKinsey State of AI study also shows that companies worldwide continue to see returns on their AI investments and plan to increase their investments in the coming years. Most respondents report revenue increases attributable to using AI in various business functions. Looking ahead, more than two-thirds of respondents are confident that their organizations will increase their investments in AI over the next three years.

Are you on board?

If you’re still wondering how to get started using AI in sales, we recommend these two free ebooks:

How To Get Started With Predictive Sales Analytics

Especially for B2B wholesale: Predictive Sales Analytics in B2B Wholesale