Suppliers not ready for 'generation Y' purchasers

14 June 2013

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16 June 2013 | Helen Gilbert

Generation Y procurement professionals are more likely to buy online than their older counterparts, but B2B supplier websites are unprepared for the demand.

An Acquity Group study of 207 corporate buyers with annual budgets in excess of $100,000 (£63,976), found that nine in 10 purchasers aged 18-35 make company purchases online, compared with 45 per cent of those aged 46-60 and 29 per cent of buyers aged 60 and over.

The study, which analysed buyer behaviour and preferences across a variety of areas including research habits, loyalty trends, purchasing frequency and channel and customer services needs, also identified that young people were most likely to spend greater lengths of time researching purchases.

Under 60s were found to spend between one and two hours researching major purchases of $5,000 (£3,198) or more, compared with 30 minutes spent by those aged over 60. Generally, over 60s were most likely to research less than 10 per cent of the time, compared with 50 per cent or more for those aged 26-45.

Robert Barr, Acquity Group senior vice president, attributed the significant difference in time spent on research to “experience and expectation of substantially more robust content”.

“Younger buyers are more attuned to the online shopping experience and less familiar with options in B2B e-commerce, likely leading them to spend longer doing research across sites, especially third-party sites, when information on the supplier’s website isn’t readily available,” he said.

The study also showed that 63 per cent of buyers aged 18-35 had purchased from Amazon Supply – the business arm of the online retailer - at least once, while 40 per cent regularly purchase from the site. 

“The next generation of B2B buyers is highly connected and expect an easy-to-use and highly targeted online experience, but most suppliers don’t offer capabilities comparable to familiar consumer sites, such as Amazon,” Barr added.

“This trend of online purchasing continues to rise and B2B suppliers must have an online presence that promotes familiarity and research capabilities, or consumers will go elsewhere.”

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