Wunderman Thompson (credit image/pixabay/Bru-nO)Wunderman Thompson has published its B2B Future Shopper Report 2023. The report focuses on the changing behaviours of B2B buyers online and aimed to help enterprises understand the needs of B2B customers. It offers clear guidance on how to meet their aspirations.

Based on a survey of 2,250+ B2B buyers across 11 markets, Wunderman Thompson’s findings inform where business customers go for inspiration, search and purchase, their frustrations, and evolving needs. The report offers expert advice to help enterprises shape and deliver a leading B2B omnichannel strategy. Most importantly, it will help to deepen the connection with business customers today and in the future. As well as transact more with them across every channel.

The report noted the global market that is becoming much more digital and conducting more of its purchasing online. Enterprises also found a desire and need for seamless omni-channel purchase journeys across physical and digital. It notes the importance of owned digital platforms and a B2B buyer base that is frustrated and demanding better mobile and app capabilities.

Wunderman Thompson (Credit image/LinkedIn.Hugh Fletcher)
Hugh Fletcher Global Marketing Director at Wunderman Thompso

According to Hugh Fletcher Global Marketing Director at Wunderman Thompson, “We’ve discovered that, as these journeys get more complicated, there is a belief that B2B sellers need to do more to understand the friction points and to address them.”

“We’ve found that purpose and sustainability are increasing considerations for B2B buyers, and they are also demanding better service. This poses a real challenge to B2B sellers. And we’ve found that in the future, marketplaces, social commerce, and even the metaverse will play a greater role in giving B2B buyers exactly what they want.”

The percentage of B2B buying online

In 2021, Wunderman Thompson reported that online buying behaviour accounted for 49% of all B2B spending. This year, the percentage remains the same. This is a surprising result given the myriad social and political changes the world has endured since the company last ran this survey and given the increased scope of this report. Across the countries surveyed, the highest percentage of B2B online spending was South Africa at 59%, while the lowest was surprisingly the UK at 44%.

However, Wunderman Thompson also wanted to know what this would look like in the future. This percentage will increase. With 68% of B2B buyers saying that they will increase their use of digital shopping channels in the future.

The report queries what will the online percentage be in 5 years’ time. The answer was that in every single country, online B2B spending is set to rise. And in every country, online B2B buying looks set to break the 50% mark. The overall average was 57%, an 8% rise in online purchasing in B2B.

The online B2B buying experience – it’s frustrating!

With so much B2B purchasing now happening online, could B2B sellers be doing a better job with their online sites? The report suggests yes. 46% of global B2B buyers say that they are frustrated with buying B2B products online. 48% say they are frustrated by the lack of functionality on B2B websites. And this discontent is aggravated by the feeling that many B2B buyers are more digitally advanced than their B2B suppliers. Something that 68% of B2B buyers agreed with.

So, the report asks, where are the most frustrated B2B buyers? In India (60%), while Dutch consumers are the least frustrated (33%). In all the countries the report explored, this is an issue that B2B sellers need to address quickly.

Selected Insights:

  • 51% of B2B buyers say sellers don’t understand the friction points in the online buying process
  • Over two-thirds of B2B buyers want to buy via an avatar in the metaverse in the future
  • 7-in-10 prefer to order from businesses with both online and physical stores
  • 71% of B2B buyers wish they could shop more easily through their mobile devices
  • 66% want similar experiences to those offered by consumer brands.

Enterprise Times: What this means for business.

These are challenging times for businesses, customers and consumers. Social, economic and political instability have affected business and consumer confidence across the globe. A possible side-effect is the statistic that 40% of global b2b buyers have changed their suppliers in the last year.

Last year, the data said 53% of UK, US and Chinese B2B buyers had changed suppliers in the previous year. Interestingly, one of the key reasons for changing suppliers is transactional reasons. Key functional elements such as bad checkout and bad online experience have been named by business customers as the main reason. This chimes with research from a variety of other organisations and analysts, which emphasise the need for superior customer experience.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here