B2B Buyers Prefer Email Over Other Channels, Especially Older Generations, Study Finds

Email ranks as the most preferred channel in the B2B purchase journey among all generations, according to the General Differences in B2B Decision-Making, a study by B2B International, a Merkle company.  

Of the millennials polled, 54% chose email, versus 60% of older generations. Second is the telephone, selected by 45% of millennials and 51% of older folks. And face-to-face is third, listed by 42% of millennials and 46% of older buyers.  

However, many sources are consulted during the purchasing journey, including the vendor website, opinions from channel/resellers and industry analyst firm opinions. News articles about the brand are consulted by 25% of millennials and 19% of boomers and Gen Xers.  

Boomers, ages 58 to 75, spend the least amount of time in the research phase of a B2B decision: eight weeks, perhaps because of greater confidence levels. In contrast, millennials conduct research for 13 weeks and Gen Xers 12 weeks. 

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But millennials are more apt to switch providers, even when they exhibit a strong Net Promoter Score. Of all the brands evaluated by the millennial cohort, 56% were known less than five years.

One marked difference between the generations is in how they rate the customer experience. 

Of the millennials polled, 51% agree that digital purchase channels lead to more personalized solutions. Only 43 of older respondents concur. 

But 35% of millennials say B2B ecommerce platforms offer a considerably worse experience than consumer ones do. In contract, 21% of older people agree.  

 B2B International conducted 3,094 interviews with buyers worldwide, covering 5,622 B2B brand experiences. 

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