October 26, 2015, 3:48 PM

B2B buyers are researching and purchasing more online

As B2B e-commerce becomes a more common purchasing channel, 65% of buyers say they’ve increased their online spending.

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Underneath projections of surging online business-to-business sales—forecast to hit $780 million in the United States this year and more than $1.13 trillion by 2020, according to Forrester Research Inc.—are details that shed light on why B2B sales are picking up steam.

Nearly two-thirds, or 65%, of respondents to a survey last month of B2B executives said they had increased their total online work-related spending from a year earlier, Andy Hoar, a B2B e-commerce analyst at Forrester, said at a B2B e-commerce technology conference last week hosted by hybris Software, a unit of business software company SAP SE.

In addition, he noted that more than half of respondents over the same period reporting making more online work-related purchases while increasing the average value of their online purchases. The survey, which Forrester conducted on behalf of hybris and technology consultants Accenture Interactive, involved more than 1,300 buyers from companies across the United States, Europe, Asia and other regions.

Following are percentages of B2B executives surveyed this year and how they’ve changed online buying behavior from last year:

  • Increased total online spend on work purchases, 65%
  • Made more work purchases online, 63%
  • Increased their average online purchase price, 53%

The online B2B world is also having an increasing effect on offline buying, Hoar added, as the survey showed a growing percentage of executives are researching at least a quarter of their purchases online—75% this year, versus 66% in last year’s survey. With the survey noting that B2B buyers are researching products on consumer e-commerce sites and e-marketplaces as well as on B2B sites, Hoar advised his hybris conference audience they need to be aware of what consumer e-commerce sites are offering as well as what’s on B2B sites.

Following are the percentages of offline purchases researched online by percentages of B2B executives in 2015/2014:

  • 75% or more offline purchases research online—22%/21%
  • 50-74% offline purchases research online —24%/21%
  • 25-49% offline purchases research online —29%/24%
  • 11-24% offline purchases research online —18%, 19%
  • 1-10% offline purchases research online —7%/12%
  • 0% offline purchases research online —1%/2%

(Percentages don’t add up to 100 because of rounding.)

Sign up for a free subscription to B2BecNews, a twice-weekly newsletter that covers technology and business trends in the growing B2B e-commerce industry. B2BecNews is published by Vertical Web Media LLC, which also publishes the monthly business magazine Internet Retailer. Follow B2BecNews editor Paul Demery on Twitter @pdemery.



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