How Younger B2B Buyers Are Making Mobile Matter

Mobile shopping continues to dominate the commercial world, especially among Millennials, and B2B procurement habits are no exception.

While it may be unsurprising that Acquity Group’s 2014 State of B2B Procurement Study found mobile B2B product research and procurement more common among younger buyers, this finding demonstrates a crucial shift in the landscape. As new buyers (with new behaviors) enter the space, it is even more essential for manufacturers and distributors to meet the expectations of new generations of procurement officers.

Millennial B2B Buyers Reliant on Mobile

Overall, 24 percent of respondents report actually purchasing company products on a smartphone, and 25 percent have completed purchases using a tablet.

Younger buyers are significantly more likely to report purchasing products via smartphone than their older counterparts, with 35 percent of respondents in the Millennial generation (ages 18-25) using mobile phones for purchasing compared to 19 percent of those 45 and over. Tablets, generally the more popular purchasing devices, widens the gap somewhat, with 45 percent of Millennials purchasing with the device compared to 19 percent of B2B buyers 45 and over.

Mobility Isn’t the Future—It’s Here

Where mobile truly dominates, however, is in conducting research. Fifty-five percent of 18-25 year olds perform procurement research on their smartphones, compared to 31 percent of respondents over 60. The numbers are similar for tablet use, with half of Millennials using tablets to conduct research, and 32 percent of buyers over 60 reporting the same. Overall, 44 percent of B2B buyers have used a smartphone and 37 percent have used a tablet to conduct research for a company purchase.

While the findings of this year’s study show the beginnings of a shift away from a third-party dominated B2B eCommerce industry, manufacturers and suppliers must take note of customers’ channel preferences if they plan to truly compete. The growth of online research and purchasing overall is encouraging, but online is only half of the equation. With younger buyers’ opinions poised to comprise the majority of the market sooner rather than later, organizations must adopt omni-channel and mobile-minded strategies, and strive to innovate and improve the digital experience across devices.

To learn more about Acquity Group’s 2014 State of B2B Procurement study, click here.

To shed light on the growth and trends in B2B online purchasing, Acquity Group, part of Accenture Interactive, conducted its second annual State of B2B Procurement study to see how the preferences and habits of buyers at B2B companies have changed in the last year.

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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