IBM Study Details Millennial Buying Habits

By 2030, 75% of the U.S. workforce will be Millennials, meaning their role in B2B purchases will be significant, according to Carolyn Heller Baird, the global research leader for the IBM Institute for Business Value. Baird, who directed IBM’s recent study on Millennials’ B2B buying habits, highlighted her findings at the last week’s ASI Power Summit in Dana Point, CA. “Millennials care deeply about companies’ values,” she said. “They also prize hassle-free convenience and want an omni-channel client experience.”

Unsurprisingly, Baird’s research found that Millennials are “data hounds” who look to social networks and online reviews as they gather information. The majority place great emphasis on mobile experiences, especially as they begin their search for products and services. “I think the key is that companies should be delivering data to Millennials anywhere and anytime they can,” Baird said. “You should also engage with them very directly and partner digitally to spotlight their successes. In other words, share the love.”

Despite their desire for everything digital, Millennials’ decisions are highly personal, the study shows. “Millennials look to friends and family for advice to the same extent as they rely on their organization’s data,” Baird said. “They like face-to-face time with vendors, much more so than other generations.”

Once the sales cycle begins, though, Millennials gravitate toward email over other communication. “After they have the information they need, they prefer to keep vendor interactions quick, easy and virtual while they make their decision,” Baird said.

To read the complete IBM study, click here.