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Generational Shift Among B2B Buyers

Younger Buyers Embracing eComm Methods

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B2B buying methods are changing as younger, more digitally engaged executives increase their presence on buying teams, according to an industry report.

Younger B2B buyers predominantly comprise the teams doing the corporate buying of goods and services for their respective organizations, and they prefer limited or no-contact purchasing from sellers, according to a report from Forrester Research and Digital Commerce 360.

Today’s purchasing manager and procurement team are increasingly led by younger employees who demand more digital interaction with their suppliers, survey data shows.

That’s spurring a shift from traditional, even old-fashioned, communication channels that were preferred by older executives. Those executives are retiring or otherwise cycling out of buyer positions, opening spots for the younger, often digitally-native buyers to exert their preferences on the industry. The majority of purchase decisions are now made by Millenials or Gen Z, born in 1981 or after, according to the survey.

In a study last year based on a survey of 14,000 B2B buyers, Forrester Research found that young buyers far more than their older peers preferred digital and self-service purchasing methods over traditional in-person options.

It also found that seven in 10 buyers overall see online buying as more convenient and prefer to do so when ready to buy. More than three quarters of buyers find online purchasing preferable to working in person with a sales rep.

Today, 55% of business buyers still use email as their primary means of communicating with sellers. Email is followed by live chat with a real person (45%), call center (38%), sales rep (35%), automated, non-person live chat (23%), social media (20%), company (19%), and virtual appointment with a sales rep (17%). Respondents could choose multiple answers.

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