A survey of midmarket companies finds they are moving to tablets and smartphones from desktops and notebooks.
A survey of small and midsize
businesses found owners are accelerating the shift away from desktops and
laptops and moving toward the latest technology and gadgets such as smartphones
and tablets. The findings were published by Portfolio.com, a business news site
for SMB executives and entrepreneurs.
Part of a proprietary study
conducted by The Business Journals that examines the makeup, attitudes and
economic landscape of the SMB market, the report also showed how SMB owners are
significantly increasing their use of and reliance on technology, especially
the Internet as a critical business tool.
"It shouldn't be a
shock to anyone that technology has dramatically changed the way entrepreneurs
and company owners do business," said J. Jennings Moss, Portfolio's
editor. "What is a surprise is how quickly some tools we thought were
indispensable, like laptops, are being cast aside for mobile devices and
Thirty-seven percent of SMB
owners responded that they have used a smartphone or a PDA in the past year, an
increase of 10 percent over 2010, according to the survey. When asked about
iPads and applications, 9 percent responded that they have used an iPad, and 31
percent responded that they used applications for business. SMB owners have decreased
their use of desktops, notebooks/netbooks and laptops from last year.
The Internet has become more
of a stalwart business tool for SMB owners with 74 percent considering the
Internet as one of their most valuable business tools, up from 65 percent the
previous year, while the majority of SMB owners (55 percent) are online to be
connected to their businesses for 8 or more hours a day. The survey found 70
percent of SMB owners said technology has greatly increased their companies'
productivity and is helping their lives stay more organized.
In addition, 71 percent said
they research products for purchase online, while 58 percent look for business
news online, versus 55 percent and 52 percent in 2010, respectively. With the
increase in Internet use among SMB owners, the study found that owners are now
embracing social networks as a personal and business resource: 70 percent of
SMB owners currently use social networks, while 49 percent have social networks
as part of their marketing initiatives.
Facebook is the most-used
social platform with 59 percent on the service for either personal or business
use, though 31 percent are also using LinkedIn, but 91 percent of users are
using it for their business. Fifteen percent of respondents are on Twitter,
which is ranked second behind LinkedIn as a business tool, and 73 percent said
they have used YouTube.
"We are seeing SMBs
rapidly embracing social media as a key component of their business and
marketing plans," said Godfrey Phillips, vice president for research at
The Business Journals. "SMB owners see Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as
the dominant platforms with the largest shares of business use. With access to
the Internet more readily available, especially through mobile devices and
tablets, it makes sense that social media is becoming a key platform and
resource to SMB owners."