Hand one iPad to a 10-year-old child and another to a 80-year-old and it is remarkable how much quicker the child is able to interpret how to handle the basic functions of the device. This is not to say that the senior will never gain the skills needed, it just highlights that the younger generations, who have grown up among the changing technology, tend to be the first adopters of the latest innovations. This can be seen with computers, mobile devices and eCommerce solutions.
Acquity Group - a leader in Brand eCommerce and digital marketing - released its 2013 State of B2B Procurement Study and found that younger employees in-charge of company spending lean much more on online shopping. The numbers show that 90 percent of buyers between 18-35 years of age make company purchases online. As the age ranges go up, adoption rates do down: 36-45 (68 percent), 46-60 (45 percent) and 60+ (29 percent).
It is not just about spending money, as younger buyers also use the internet to improve their research prior to making a final decision. According to Robert Barr, the senior vice president at Acquity Group, the significant difference between age groups in time spent researching is likely a reflection of experience and an expectation of substantially more robust content.
"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, especially third-party sites, when information on the supplier's website isn't readily available," said Barr.
As old buyers retire and are replaced by a younger counterpart, the use of eCommerce becomes more important for business success. Those that have added features like Level 3 data will become the go-to options for procurement specialists.