B2B buyers are making more of their work-related purchases online, and the reasons why include the fact that e-commerce sites are always open for business and process orders fast, Forrester Research Inc. says in a new study.

In its third annual survey of more than 140 business-to-business buyers, conducted in the fourth quarter of 2015 in conjunction with Internet Retailer, Forrester found that the percentage of buyers making at least half of their work purchases online will increase to 53% in 2018 from 32% in 2015. The study was authored by Andy Hoar, Forrester’s principal analyst for B2B e-commerce.

When Forrester asked buyers to name their top reason for shifting more purchases online from offline, the most frequently given answer—cited by 33% of respondents—was that e-commerce sites are always open for business. The second-most common reason—cited by 21%—was that e-commerce provides a faster way to process orders. The study found that only 3% of respondents said they were not shifting more work purchases online.

The study also noted that mobile technology and credit cards are playing important roles in B2B buyer’s online purchasing process. It found that 55% of respondents use smartphones to research products and services they plan to purchase for work, compared with 69% that use laptop computers. And it noted that 68% use credit cards to make online purchases on the job.

Following are the percentages of B2B buyers who cited the following when asked to name their “chief reason” for shifting more work purchases online from offline:

  • More convenient, with online sites open 24 hours a day, 33%
  • Faster ordering process, 21%
  • More and better information about products, 12%
  • Lower prices available, 11%
  • Easier to track purchases for maintaining records, 9%
  • Minimize interaction with sales reps, 4%
  • Management requires buyers to order online, 3%
  • We have not shifted more purchases online, 3%
  • Other, 4%
  • Don’t know, 1%

(Percentages don’t add up to 100% because of rounding.)

Following are the percentages of respondents who said they use the following devices (they could choose more than one device) to research products for work purchases:

  • Laptop computer, 69%
  • Smartphone, 55%
  • Desktop computer, 52%
  • Tablet, 37%
  • Other, 6%
  • Don’t know, 1%

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