A study announced just before the new year says that 75 percent of small and medium businesses plan to purchase tablet computers in 2012. What the buyers really mean by "tablets" is Apple iPad.
The results can be found in NPD Group’s Q3 SMB Technology Monitor. For the survey, SMB was defined as businesses with fewer than 1,000 employees, and NPD said that the "average investment" would exceed $21,000.
"Businesses of all sizes appear to be determined to capitalize on the tablet phenomenon," said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD. "The iPad, just as it is in the consumer market, is synonymous for 'Tablet' in the business market, leaving Apple poised to take advantage of the increased spending intentions of these SMBs. NPD's research shows that iPad purchase preference is higher among larger firms than smaller ones, which is an important indicator that Apple is gaining traction far outside its typical consumer space."
On the NPD Group blog, Baker said that the increased spending on iPads didn't mean that the PC was dead.
The combination, however, of the length of time since the Windows 7 launch, the need to spend on higher cost infrastructure, and the increased spending on tablets has clearly put a crimp on PC spending intentions, especially among the largest firms
According to the survey, "less than 20 percent" of the companies said they expected to spend less on PCs next year (does that mean 19 percent?). However, 10 percent of the respondents anticipated spending zero on PCs.
All this means more penetration into businesses for Apple iPad and Macintosh, which is the iOS halo product. I wrote a year ago of Apple's plan to expand its SMB sales support operation out of its Apple Store retail operation. Something is happening there, since I receive regular "success stories" emailings on various SMB segments.
All this points to a good year ahead for Apple consultants.