Top 5 Procurement Trends for Businesses To Look Out for in 2023

Whether you entered 2023 feeling recharged and ready to take on the world or you’re still waiting for that burst of new-year energy, it’s worth taking some time this month to reflect on the year ahead.

Maybe it feels like not much has changed in your project opportunities between December and right now — but 12 whole months of possibilities lie ahead for your team. It’s the perfect moment to stop and enjoy the view.

To help you make 2023 the most profitable year for your business, we’re breaking down the top five trends that you can expect to see when it comes to opportunities in the public sector that could fuel your growth in 2023.

Trend 1: Opportunities are (still) on the rise

Our first trend of 2023 is great news for businesses in diverse industries. Riding the momentum we saw in 2022, project volumes are on the rise thanks to increased investment in government infrastructure projects.

Numbers from our latest State of Public Sourcing report show a 28% increase in the overall number of projects run through the Bonfire system during the first half of 2022. Suppliers across multiple industries can expect to see similar increased demand into 2023, specifically in these key areas:

  • Transportation agencies and utilities: These types of organizations are running the most opportunities, with a 33% and 13% increase in projects respectively in 2022.
  • Construction: Agencies are undertaking 56% more construction projects to address gaps and repair aging physical infrastructure.
  • Technology: Last year, we saw 36% more software projects being run through Bonfire over 2021, a trend that reflects the ongoing need by public agencies to digitally transform.

The takeaway? More funding available for agencies in diverse project categories means more projects for your business. You can look forward to greater opportunities to bid on and more chances to win government business this year.  And here’s a pro tip; if you don’t see one today that matches directly with your business, our advice is to hang tight and make sure you have a good way to get notified of new projects because you don’t want to miss out!

Trend 2: Diversity continues to be top of mind

Promoting vendor diversity helps public agencies ensure historically disadvantaged business enterprises (DBEs) get an equal shot at winning government business. But it isn’t just the right thing to do. As it turns out, it also leads to better project outcomes through best-value purchasing that promotes social, economic, and cultural value.

For those reasons and more, government agencies are now required to work with small businesses and DBEs. The federal government’s goal is to award at least 5% of all federal contracting dollars to small and disadvantaged businesses each year. Bonfire data show that agencies are standing by this commitment. As of the end of May 2022, 16% of US Bonfire clients use one or more diversity-related fields compared to 10% in 2021.

The takeaway? Increased government efforts to promote partnerships with small businesses and DBEs means there’s more money on the table for eligible groups. It’s a great time for businesses owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals to get in on lucrative government contracts.

Trend 3: More businesses are bidding online

Gone are the days of cumbersome paper bids. Today, businesses like yours can find and bid on government projects quickly and easily online. The digital era of procurements not only streamlines the bidding process, but also allows for suppliers to save time and money on expenses such as paper and shipping, reducing the barrier to entry for small business and DBEs to bid on government projects. Not to mention, the digital bidding process is far more environmentally sustainable. Did you know that, since 2012, Bonfire eProcurement has saved over 1.5 million pages of paper?!

Of course, the Covid-19 pandemic also played a significant role in driving business to seek bid opportunities online. As many businesses transitioned to work-from-home and looked for ways to cut costs during an uncertain economic time, online bidding became the most effective solution for businesses to get in on the government bidding action. And in 2023, it’s likely that the number of businesses bidding online will only increase as more suppliers rush to catch up to their peers, streamline processes, and find ways to hit their sustainability goals

The takeaway? Bidding on lucrative government contracts will only continue to get easier, more affordable, and more accessible for businesses who make the switch to online bidding. Submitting bids online with Bonfire Premium Vendor is easy, fast, and there’s even support available if you get stuck. All that adds up to reduced barriers to entry for businesses like yours, and greater opportunities to find and win government bids. 

Trend 4: Simplicity is best for everyone

If you’re familiar with government bidding, you know that the traditional request for proposals (RFP) is a lengthy document with often rigorous and daunting requirements. So our fourth trend of 2023 will have businesses breathing a sigh of relief. A peek into the Bonfire database shows the complexity and length of project documentation is going down. In 2021, RFP and bid proposals contained an average of 56 pages, but that number dropped to 49 in 2022.

While the shift is far from dramatic, it could signal a longer-term trend in which government agencies are simplifying RFP packages to offset the increase in project volumes. A big reason for this change is the fact that procurement teams are managing larger workloads with the same or reduced headcount and resources as they were three or four years ago.

The takeaway? It’s time to scrap outdated notions of slow-moving agencies mired in red tape. Public procurement is moving faster than ever — and bidding is getting quicker and easier, too, now that bids can be submitted online. The rise in simplicity means businesses of all industries, shapes, and sizes can bid on government projects.

Trend 5: Agencies want YOU

Our final trend of 2023 is one we’ve seen consistently over the last few years. Government agencies are more and more focused on not only building strong relationships with the businesses that support their constituents, but also widening their supplier pool to include more trusted businesses. With a large, dependable supplier network, government organizations can ensure they have the resources and connections they need to rise to any challenge.

Recent Bonfire data supports this trend, revealing that public agencies are making it a priority to engage more suppliers. eProcurement users in our database sent out over two times more invitations in the first five months of 2022 than they did over the same period in 2021. With 650+ agencies posting their bids exclusively on Bonfire, government buyers are looking to invite more businesses to view and bid on their projects. The problem? Not all invited suppliers are qualified. Over 2,500 supplier invitations were sent out per project in 2022 and each project saw an average of just 18 vendor proposals. What’s even more troubling is that there’s a large percentage that receive less than two proposals! 

The takeaway? Thousands of opportunities are out there for qualified suppliers to scoop up new government business. So, even if you’re one of several businesses invited to bid, only a small portion of those businesses will actually submit a proposal. Don’t be too quick to rule out your company — if you’re among the qualified, the opportunity is significant.

Bright and shiny and new government bids

As you look ahead to a year of new possibilities — and lots of new public sector opportunities to choose from — keeping these five trends in mind can help guide you to your best results yet. To learn more about how to find, bid on, and win more government contracts this year, learn more about Bonfire Premium Vendor – the ultimate government bidding solution.