92% of companies eyeing investment in AI-powered software

In 2024, buyers are increasingly focused on cost efficiency, AI functionality, and enhanced security, according to Gartner.

software buyers concerns

The report reveals that 61% of buyers are seeking upgrades for more functionality in their recently purchased software.

The need to upgrade reflects the constant pursuit of optimizing tech tools for better performance and ROI. Central to navigating these decisions, 98% of buyers rely on user reviews in their decision-making process and place higher trust in more recent reviews.

4 key priorities for software buyers

To help SaaS companies attract and retain customers, Gartner identified four top priorities for software buyers in 2024.

Cost remains key factor in software purchases

Software buyers are actively evaluating their budgets and expect pricing that is justifiable about features included. Software buyers are sensitive to price, and 31% have replaced their software because it costs too much. Cost is the number one factor for buyers searching for new software. In fact, 53% have disqualified a vendor because prices weren’t in line with their expectations.

AI features in high demand

Software buyers demand more functionality, especially AI features to enhance efficiencies/productivity. 92% businesses are considering investing in AI-powered software in 2024. According to Gartner, by 2027, spending on AI software will grow to $297.9 billion, with a compound annual growth rate of 19.1%.

Security concerns drive purchases

Software buyers are concerned about security amidst consistent cyber threats. 47% of software buyers say their concerns about security and cyberattacks triggered a purchase in the last 12 months. Security certification, reputation, or data privacy practices are the top reasons why 46% of buyers selected a vendor for their most recent purchase. Furthermore, IT security software is the top purchase category.

Buyers lean on recent, verified reviews

Software buyers rely heavily on reviews to make purchasing decisions. Recent reviews are more likely to reflect a software product’s latest features and support capabilities, allowing for a more accurate view to inform decision-making. As such, 92% of buyers indicate they are more likely to trust software reviews written within the past year, with a preference for reviews that are verified by a third party.

“In times of rapid technological advancement and economic uncertainty, the ability for software providers to adapt and stay competitive is essential—and the opportunities are certainly there for growth,” advises Caroline Hogan, senior director of vendor marketing at Gartner Digital Markets. “SaaS companies can align their offerings with current market demands, like advanced AI and security features, while also understanding the importance of customer reviews in building trust and credibility with prospective buyers.”

Software investments are expected to increase this year, underlining the importance for providers to understand buyer trends and use them to their advantage.

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