Business Buyers Take Center Stage in Online Sales

When Amazon launched its new service aimed at business buyers last month, a trend that has long concerned electronics distributors resurfaced: online retailers taking aim at business-to-business (B2B) markets traditionally served by distributors.

It's little wonder that e-commerce giants are drawn to the B2B market, since it's a gigantic target. Oliver Wyman, in a recent publication, put the figure at $7.2 trillion. “The question is not whether Amazon and Google will be a threat in B2B, but rather which customers, purchase occasions, and categories will be attacked first,” the report said.

Willingness to buy online can be traced to age. That is, younger buyers are far more likely to use online buying platforms than older people, research from the Acquity Group finds. Only 29% of those over the age of 60 report making B2B purchases online, a figure that rises to 45% for those aged 46 to 60, to 68% for those 36 to 45, and to a whopping 90% for those 18 to 35.

The infographic below from Sullivan illustrates a similar trend. It is based on the results of a survey of mid-to-senior level executives responsible for buying business products and services on behalf of their organizations. It found that:

  • 88% of executives buy their business products online.
  • 92% said they wished purchasing business products online had the same ease as buying consumer goods online.
  •  49% said that, although they intended to buy one brand of a product, they have ended up buying a competitors product instead because it was too hard to buy online.

What do you think the role of traditional e-commerce giants will be in the electronics industry? Let us know in the comments section below.

— Hailey Lynne McKeefry, Editor in Chief, EBN Circle me on Google+ Follow me on Twitter Visit my LinkedIn page Friend me on Facebook

4 comments on “Business Buyers Take Center Stage in Online Sales

  1. SBI PO admit card 2015
    June 6, 2015

    thanks for the nice information in the post


  2. Helen2015
    June 9, 2015

    Dear Madam,

    I am an editor for a Chinese IC trading website. May I translate part of your article since it is of great use? Thanks a lot for your information.

  3. Jon Pickard
    June 25, 2015

    Amazon has backed away from entering the B2B market directly. They are planning to shut down AmazonSupply and have opened Amazon Business Marketplace. While AmazonSupply was a direct competitor to existing distributors, Amazon Business Marketplace allows distributors and other companies to to list their products on Amazon's platform. Find our more in this article from Forbes,


  4. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    July 6, 2015

    Thanks, Jon. 
    It is an interesting development. I've spoken to at least one of the top 25 distributors who is selling on Amazon in a  “Keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer” sort of approach. It will be interesting to see how this evolves. The Amazon platform doesn't make it easy to address some key electronics industry issues such as counterfeit components or component handling questions. It will be fun to see how this evolves.

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