Generation Y, adults aged 18 to 35, are changing the procurement trade. Advances in technology and ecommerce have revolutionised the way procurement professionals operate. Instead using more traditional sourcing methods, a large amount of business to business (B2B) purchases are now made online.
A recent study by Acquity Group revealed that 90 per cent of Generation Y corporate buyers with a budget in excess of $100,000 (£63,976) make large-scale purchases online. Meanwhile, only 45 per cent of procurement professionals between the ages of 46 to 60 used the internet to buy products. The popularity of e-commerce seems to be indirectly proportional to age, as only 29 per cent of senior buyers (over 60) buy online.
Across the board, Generation Y prefer to thoroughly research products and services online. In Acquity Group’s study, over 60s were found to spend less than 30 minutes researching major purchases of $5,000 (£3,198) or more, while younger counterparts typically spent one to two hours collating information, reviews and reports about costly products and services. In terms of overall job duties, Generation Y allocated much more time in their schedule for research. Young corporate buyers typically spend about half their time digging up information about items, while more senior counterparts spend less than ten per cent of their time doing the same task.
Acquity Group’s senior vice president, Robert Barr, said older corporate buyers spend far less time researching because they have greater experience and higher expectations of quality. He added: “Younger buyers are more attuned to the online shopping experience and less familiar with options in B2B ecommerce, likely leading them to spend longer doing research across sites.”
“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,” said Mr Barr.
Up to 40 per cent of corporate buyers regularly use Amazon Supply to source products, while 63 per cent say they’ve used the site at least once.