A study released Wednesday finds the average corporate buyer is a millennial male with changing values -- and women have surpassed men among younger business to business (B2B) purchasers. In fact, women make up 53% of the under-30s group and most of the under-25 group. Most work in traditional female sectors such as retail and fast-moving consumer goods.
Men, however, handle three-fourths of business purchases of more than $100,000, but the American Marketing Association-New York (AMA-NY) Future of Marketing study predicts women will make up the majority of buyers in a decade.
The study, based from online surveys of 380 business purchasers, 506 consumers and 411 marketers across the U.S., was fielded in August 2021 and conducted by Charney Research and Toluna.
The study aims to shed light on how B2B marketing is evolving by exploring demographic change, media mix, innovative tech, and brand purpose.
A company’s website is the top purchase channel used by 72% of purchasers in the month before the poll -- 20 points higher than purchasing in a store with cash, credit cards or checks, was done by 52% of buyers.
Nearly half of B2B buyers no longer buy in stores using conventional means of payment, while the vast majority make online buys. Even less, 25%, use email or mail ordering. Telephone marketing calls make up only 20%.
Targeting messages to B2B buyers varies. When asked about their media use, B2B purchasers say they spend about 13% of their time on websites, and 12% on streaming media, 11% on social media, and 11% outdoors.
These percentages are similar to those for consumers in general, but there is an age gap in media choice in B2B.
Buyers under the age of 30 spend 15% of their media time on streaming TV or radio and 15% on websites, compared to 7% and 8% respectively for over-50s
It turns out that corporate buyers share the same concerns about marketing technology as do consumers, such as false information, isolation, surveillance, and loss of privacy. But they are more open to finding ways to improve the situation such as better services, more informed shopping, easier and quicker buying, and better understanding of needs by brands.
Working from home since COVID-19, however, has increased their concerns about privacy and data security. Some 83% of buyers are more concerned because home networks are typically more vulnerable to hacks, compared with offices.
An interesting note, which could have something to do with the age of those participating in the survey, the findings found these buyers are more “woke” than American consumers and are 48% are more likely to buy from companies with social purpose or socio-political important issues, compared with 29% of consumers.
In fact, 38% of business buyers would pay an additional 10% or more, while 23% of consumers would. Those who are most likely to do so are making major purchases of more than $100,000. Some might be in the producer of goods and consumer durables markets.
The majority of business purchasers -- four-fifths or more -- hold favorable views of new and sometimes controversial marketing technologies, according to the poll. These include artificially intelligent (AI) assistants, data collection through connected devices, virtual and augmented reality, smart speakers, personalized ads, omnichannel, micro-influencer marketing and technology that seeks to implant ads in dreams. The B2B buyers range from 14 to 29 points more positive on the different marketing technologies than consumers.