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U.S. Small Businesses Mobilizing to Go Mobile

Eight out of ten U.S. small and medium businesses have implemented mobile solutions or are planning to do so, a new study shows. The tab for all of this cord-cutting in 2011 is predicted to be $32 billion.

The steps that SMBs are taking as they enter the mobile realm range from simple mobile-device-based applications to sophisticated logistics solutions, according to data gathered by SMB market analyst Techaisle. Overall, 81 percent of SMBs are either currently implementing or planning to implement some type of mobile solution, Techaisle found.

Wireless data charges account for 26 percent of the $32 billion that businesses will be spending on mobile solutions, Techaisle told BusinessNews Daily. The next highest is 23 percent on applications, including new application development.

In descending order, other spending is going toward: smartphones/tablet PCs, software applications, tablet PC/iPad apps, application customization, new application development , security and management, wireless/data/carrier/voice charges, consulting/assessments, and miscellaneous charges.

The companies that showed the highest growth rates for spending on mobility solutions were the ones with 10-19 employees and 100-249 employees, Techaisle said.

The survey found clear attitudinal differences among businesses, regardless of their size, toward mobile technology. Techaisle categorized the enterprises in three groups: Aggressive Adopters, Steady Movers and Fence Sitters. Nearly 17 percent fell into the Aggressive Adopters category. They were the ones with the highest adoption rate of smartphones and tablets, at 90 percent and 38 percent, respectively.

Among the SMBs in the U.S., 67.5 percent use smartphones, 31 percent use tablets and 43 percent intend to purchase tablets in the next year, the survey found.

Of the tablet purchase intenders, 77 percent will be repeat buyers. Tablets are predominantly being used for email, search and productivity apps, but the surveyed SMBs said they intend to use them more for vertical applications, Web conferencing, presentations and sales demos.

Similarly, smartphones are being used for email, search, social media and productivity apps. Going forward, SMBs want to use smartphones for vertical applications , business intelligence and Web conferencing, as well as GPS.