Millions of small and midsize businesses (SMBs) in the United States are tapping into technology to save time and money to the tune of a staggering $67.5 billion a year by using mobile apps, tablets and smartphones in their day-to-day business activities, according to a survey commissioned by AT&T and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council).
Among mobile technologies, the survey found that smartphones are saving business owners the most time (1.24 billion hours) and money ($32.3 billion) annually.
Tablets (saving 754.2 million hours and $19.6 billion a year) and mobile apps (saving 599.5 million hours and $15.6 billion a year) are also providing small businesses with more time, the results suggested.
"Clearly, we are at a point where entrepreneurs now look first to communications technologies and innovations for solutions to improve productivity, cut costs and better manage and engage with customers," SBE Council president and CEO Karen Kerrigan said in a statement. "That is time and money that can go back into driving sales and innovating in the marketplace."
Smartphones have become almost ubiquitous among small businesses with 94 percent using them to conduct business, up from 85 percent last year.
More than half of small businesses say they use mobile applications, with the vast majority of those (91 percent) saying it helps them save time and two-thirds saying it saves them money.
The majority of those businesses estimate they are saving up to $500 a month or $6,000 per year by using mobile apps.
"In the current economy, mobile technologies are critical to enabling small businesses to save tremendous amounts of time and money by helping them do more with less," Cathy Martine, AT&T president of enterprise business solutions, said in a statement. "As a result, we're seeing more and more small business owners and employees turning to mobile technologies to not only keep them connected but to put them ahead of the curve, as well as their competition."
Over the last two years, the use of mobile apps by small businesses has increased by 65 percent. Of the small businesses that use mobile applications, the majority (92 percent) are using smartphones to tap into apps.
Of the small businesses using mobile apps, more than three in four (77 percent) are using three or more apps, with 5 percent using 20 or more apps, and GPS, navigation and mapping apps as the most prominent.
The survey also found that the average number of days small business employees are using smartphones to conduct business exceeds the average number of days they are open for business.
While small businesses are open an average of 5.7 days per week, nearly half (49 percent) of small business owners with smartphones are using them to conduct some business activities seven days a week.