Generational shifts are disrupting buying behaviors

Millennial and Generation Z buyers are more demanding.


Reading time: 01:33 minutes

According to research firm Forrester’s "Younger Buyers Have Changed The Business Buying Landscape" report​, Millennials and Gen Z today constitute 64% of business buyers, with Millennials alone making up more than half of all business buyers. These younger buyers are more demanding, engaging in more buying activities, and more willing to express their dissatisfaction with the buying process. These changing buying behaviors, combined with continued economic uncertainty and tighter budgets, necessitate that sales and marketing leaders adapt their go-to-market strategies. 

The results reveal broad patterns among business buyers on a global scale across industries such as finance, high tech, manufacturing, and retail. In addition to studying generational differences in buying, the research examines how different B2B buyer personas such as tech, sales and marketing, HR, and procurement leaders interact throughout the buying cycle, their most relevant interaction types, and their preferred route to purchase. Key insights from the research include: 

  • Younger buyers carry new demands and expectations for B2B buying. Given their digital savviness, younger buyers are more likely to use self-serve transaction channels than their older counterparts. They are pushing vendors to a variety of self-serve transaction channels, including external marketplaces, app stores, vendor websites, and even through existing products. 
  • Millennials and Gen Z buyers are active information seekers. While there are many similarities in the way business buyers gather information across all ages, younger buyers go to more sources and find third-party resources more impactful than vendor resources. 
  • This group is quicker to express dissatisfaction with the buying experience. Younger buyers are more demanding, with 90% citing dissatisfaction with their vendor in at least one area compared to 71% of older buyers. 

"Generational shifts in the workplace are turning the business buying process on its head," said Amy Hayes, vice president and research director at Forrester. "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 lockstep with their buyers' preferences."