B2B Buyer Search & Spending Habits on the Rise

The B2B procurement field continues to show less resistance to the eCommerce takeover, according to Acquity Group’s 2014 B2B Procurement Study. The study, compiled for the second consecutive year, reveals more business buyers are now aware of, and open to browsing via online platforms, with 94 percent stating they participate in some form of online research.

Knowledge is (Purchasing) Power

This outlook is reflected in the sharp increase in procurement budgeting for online spending, rather than purchases made over the phone or in person. The study shows the number of B2B buyers who report using at least 90 percent their budget for online purchasing has more than doubled since 2013, from less than 9 percent to just over 18 percent.

Furthermore, 46 percent of respondents from the study expect to increase the amount of their budget they spend online in the next year. Of those who aren’t planning to increase their online budgets, the number one reason is that they are already making most, if not all, of their purchases online.

Business buyers are also becoming more comfortable making major purchases (of $5,000 or more) online, up to 68 percent from 57 percent last year. The number of procurement officers who buy items of that caliber on some channel at least once per month is also rising, with a 40 percent increase since 2013.

This growth corresponds with a shift in the amount of time spent researching these large purchases year-over-year.

With buyers nearly twice as likely to spend 10 hours or more simply looking into a product this year compared to 2013, it’s clear that distributors and third-party suppliers must make a concerted effort to streamline and build out their flow of product information across channels, or risk losing revenue. As the digital space plays an increasingly crucial role in setting the standard for both on- and offline research, access to details such as 360-degree product views, specific measurements and warranty information could be a critical differentiator for purchase decisions.

To read more about the findings in Acquity Group’s 2014 State of B2B Procurement study, click here.

The second annual B2B Procurement study from Acquity Group, part of Accenture Interactive, examines how the shift to The Web has impacted the B2B buyer’s search, discovery and purchase processes in 2014.

The study surveyed 500 buyers with annual purchasing budgets of $100,000 or more about their online purchasing habits and preferences. Inquiries ranged across areas including research, loyalty, frequency of purchase, customer service, and online offering and feature preferences. Buyers’ preferences and behaviors were also analyzed based on demographic qualifiers including generation, budget and industry. Response percentages were further evaluated on a quantitative scale to assess actionable metrics for B2B distributors and suppliers.

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