Although it’s not directly related to the Mac, a report recently published by market research firm Cahners In-Stat Group suggests that now is more an important time than ever for companies like Apple to focus their product strategy on being the hub of the digital lifestyle. That digital lifestyle is growing, apparently: Cahners In-Stat Group reported that about 24 percent of the US workforce — or more than 30 million workers — telecommutes from home at some point during the week.
Nearly 70 percent of those workers who telecommute from home at some point during the week have access to the Internet, according to In-Stat. What’s more, In-Stat predicts that this number will grow to nearly 40 million workers, or 28 percent, by 2004.
In-Stat director of e-business infrastructure and services Kneko Burney explained that it’s that 70 percent that companies should focus their attention on. They’re the ones who are prime candidates to rely on VPN (Virtual Private Network) connections, for example, or to use Internet-delivered business services. Burney also said they’re the ones that are most likely to suffer when IT issues stop them in their tracks — an issue that corporate IT departments will need to focus on increasingly as time goes on.
In-Stat said that the number has grown from 19 million Internet-accessing telecommuters in the US in 2000, or about 10 percent of the U.S. workforce. Most of these workers, In-Stat posited, were employed by small and SOHO (Small Office/Home Office) businesses.
In-Stat also indicated that in 2000, the SOHO business market supported about 6.6 million Internet-accessing telecommuters, or about 28 percent of the segment’s total workforce. Small businesses employed about 5.3 million Internet-accessing at-home workers, or about 13 percent of the small business workforce. By comparison, the enterprise market employed about 5 million Internet telecommuters, or about 10 percent of its workforce. Mid-sized businesses were the smallest segment employing Internet telecommuters, with about 11 percent of its workforce.
But the growth market, In-Stat contended, lies with technology providers who can cater to corporate markets and mid- to large-sized businesses.
“Firms in these markets are expected to see consistent growth in the number of telecommuters they support each year, with the total number of online telecommuters growing at an average rate of 17 percent annually in the enterprise market, and 11 percent in the middle market,” said In-Stat.
If you have a spare US$3,995 and you’d like to take a look at the report yourself, get in touch with In-Stat and ask for “Entering the Access Era: U.S. Telecommuter Demographics & the Impact of Fragmentation on IT Platforms.” It’s report #SH0101MS.