Millennials and Generation Z are More Demanding Business Buyers, New Report Shows

Majority of business buyers today (64%) are from the younger generations, with Millennials alone making up more than half of them, reveals a recent Forrester report entitled "Younger Buyers Have Changed The Business Buying Landscape." These younger buyers have different expectations and behaviors compared to previous generations, and are more likely to engage in multiple buying activities and voice their dissatisfaction with the purchasing process. In light of these changes and the current economic climate, sales and marketing leaders must adjust their strategies for reaching and selling to these younger buyers.

“Generational shifts in the workplace are turning the business buying process on its head. Lack of understanding about Millennial and Gen Z buying behaviors can adversely affect providers’ ability to reach, engage, and ultimately win these buyers over. Forrester’s annual Buyers’ Journey Survey is one of the largest and most comprehensive in the world and reveals compelling insights about buying behaviors to help firms evolve their go-to-market strategy to be in lock step with their buyers’ preferences,” said Amy Hayes, vice president and research director at Forrester.

The study has uncovered general trends in the behavior of business buyers worldwide across different industries such as finance, high tech, manufacturing, and retail. Apart from analyzing how different generations approach buying, the research also explores how distinct B2B buyer personas, such as tech, sales and marketing, HR, and procurement leaders, engage with one another during the purchasing process, their preferred methods of communication, and their typical buying journey.

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The study's most significant findings include:

  • Younger buyers have new demands when it comes to B2B buying. Being more adept with technology, they prefer using self-service channels for transactions compared to older generations. Consequently, they are encouraging suppliers to offer more options for self-service transactions, including external marketplaces, app stores, vendor websites, and even through existing products.

  • Millennials and Gen Z buyers proactively seek information. Although there are similarities in how all generations gather information for business purchases, younger buyers tend to explore a broader range of sources and place greater value on third-party resources than vendor resources.

  • Compared to older buyers, Millennials and Gen Z are more likely to voice their discontent with the purchasing process. They are more demanding, as 90% of younger buyers express dissatisfaction with their vendors in at least one aspect, as opposed to 71% of older buyers.