iPads

Small businesses to buy more tablets in 2012

According to a survey by NPD Group, nearly three quarters of U.S. small and medium businesses (SMBs)—those with 1000 or fewer employees—plan to buy tablets sometime in the next 12 months. And if those businesses are buying tablets, chances are those tablets will be iPads.

The survey—fielded in September and reported in that group’s SMB Technology Monitor report—found that, overall, 73 percent of SMBs plan to purchase tablets during the next 12 months. That’s up from 68 percent in NPD’s second quarter survey. A huge number of those surveyed—90 percent—said they plan to increase or maintain their tablet expenditures over that same time period.

Larger firms are more likely to be buying tablets than smaller ones: Nearly 90 percent of firms with 501 to 999 employees plan to buy tablets, compared to 54 percent of companies with fewer than 50 employees. And while 83 percent of those smaller firms plan to maintain or increase their current tablet expenditures over the next 12 months, more than 90 percent of larger SMBs do.

By comparison, 36 percent of the smaller firms (under 50 employees) plan to increase spending on PCs; only 23 percent of the largest SMBs (501 to 999 employees) do. (NPD doesn't break out specific numbers for laptops or Macs.)

Not surprisingly, when SMBs think “tablets,” they usually mean “iPads”: According to NPD, 73 percent of the companies they surveyed are considering the iPad; that's more than for any other tablet and “up slightly” over previous surveys, according to Stephen Baker, Vice President, Industry Analysis for NPD. (The company isn’t making specific numbers for other tablets available to the public.) The preference for iPads is stronger among larger firms than in smaller ones.

“The iPad, just as it is in the consumer market, is synonymous for 'tablet' in the business market,” said Baker in a released statement, “leaving Apple poised to take advantage of the increased spending intentions of these SMBs.”

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