Small Business & the Mirror of the Mobile Consumer

by Net Future Institute on May 2, 2013

By Chuck Martin

The small business market is looking more like the mobile consumer marketplace every day.

The latest survey results from an AT&T small business study highlighted some interesting mobile stats about small business:

  • 98% of small businesses use some form of wireless technology in their operation
  • 56% of smartphones used by small business employees for business are 4G
  • 41% of small businesses have employees that use wireless devices working away from the office
  • 31% of small businesses use mobile apps primarily to save time, increase productivity and reduce costs
  • 71% of small businesses are likely to increase their budgets for mobile marketing
  • 69% of small businesses use tablets

It strikes me that many of these same characteristics apply to typical mobile consumers, a large number of whom use Wi-Fi, 4G speeds and apps to save time, among other reasons.

The slight difference is in tablet usage, with the percentage of small businesses using them more than two times higher than consumers possessing them. This seems to make sense, since tablets can easily be used at retail, especially as iPads become the checkout device of choice for many retailers.

Another tablet factoid in the study is that the larger the business, the more likely they are to use tablets, with 90% of those with 51 to 99 employees using them. This also makes sense, since a larger business can likely afford a higher level of technological investment.

Tablets aside, more consumers are becoming more active with their smartphones as they research, shop, scan, buy and share details of their purchases.

When we talk about 55% or so of mobile phones in the U.S. now being smartphones, many of these phones are owned by people who either own or work in small businesses. They aren’t different people.

Small business people and mobile consumers seem to be getting closer to being one and the same.

     Chuck Martin is editor of the mCommerce Daily at MediaPost and writes the daily MobileShopTalk column. He is the author of “Mobile Influence,” “The Third Screen,” and “The Smartphone Handbook.” He is CEO of Mobile Future Institute and a frequent mobile keynote speaker and mobile marketing speaker internationally.

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