B2B online buying trends revealed in Amazon study

Amazon Business has announced its second State of Business Procurement Report, offering insights into B2B purchasing.


Amazon Business has announced its second State of Business Procurement Report, offering insights into B2B purchasing.

The 2022 report – which surveyed buyers who hold influential procurement roles across commercial, education, government, non-profit, and healthcare industries in the US – showed 91% of B2B buyers state a preference for online procurement over traditional offline distributors or bricks-and-mortar stores.

By the end of the year, 68% of buyers plan to make at least 40%+ of their purchases online – up from 56% in 2021 – with one in ten buyers expecting to complete upward of 80% of their purchases online.

Figures reveal continuing nagging issues with ordering from online stores, with the three familiar areas of issue being too many supply chain disruptions and shipping delays; inadequate product information and descriptions; and difficulty getting in touch with live assistance.

The effect of COVID is also seen throughout the report, with 58% of B2B buyers now making purchases that have to be delivered directly to an employee’s residence as the workforce embraces hybrid working. 

Amazon Business Global Leader of Enterprise Accounts Chris Costello said: “Online procurement minimises the complexities that accompany having a dispersed workforce making it easier to embrace this work type evolution. For example, sending goods to multiple locations, including employees’ homes, is easy with the right digital technology.”

However, the death knell is not ringing for the office just yet as nearly half of B2B buyers (46%) are responsible for making purchases for multiple offices and almost a quarter (24%) are tasked with supporting offices in multiple countries.

An increasing CSR focus was the other major finding of the study, with sustainability and diversity key areas of progress. The research revealed that 84% of B2B buyers said their organisations plan to increase how much money they spend with Black- or other diverse-owned businesses, while 63% noted that improving sustainability in their purchasing practices is a priority.

However, there remains substantial blockers to sustainability as 55% of purchasers expressed difficulty in finding sourcing suppliers that follow sustainable practices. Among this group, 81% agreed this is holding their company back from achieving its procurement sustainability goals.

Another major issue is identifying sustainably-certified products, with 89% stating they would buy more of these products if they were easier to recognise. Mike Kernish, General Manager of Public Sector Accounts at Amazon Business, commented: “Buyers can find it difficult to identify whether a supplier has certain certifications or uses sustainable practices, like products that yield net-neutral carbon emissions or contain fewer packaging materials.”

The report highlighted the more strategic nature of procurement and the importance of reacting to evolving times and situations with the right technologies. To make its point, Amazon Business quoted McKinsey: “The organisations that significantly experimented with and invested in new digital technologies at the beginning of the pandemic were twice as likely to report outsize revenue growth compared to their peers.”

Seattle (WA), USA