SMBs covet tablets, Apple iPads most of all (research)

SMBs covet tablets, Apple iPads most of all (research)

Summary: More than half of small businesses plan to increase or maintain their spending on tablet computers this year, according to NPD Group's latest SMB Technology Monitor.

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Small businesses are prepared to spend big on tablet computers in 2012 and the Apple iPad product line will be chief among the devices they consider. That's according to the latest SMB Technology Monitor from research firm NPD Group, based in Port Washington, N.Y.

Just shy of three-quarters of all small and midsize businesses (SMBs) with fewer than 1,000 employees plan to buy tablet computers during the next 12 months, according to the latest edition of NPD's poll. That was up about five percentage points from the second-quarter version of this same study. The top purchasing preference in the category was the Apple iPad, NPD reported.

The average IT budget allocation for tablets among the surveyed SMBs was $21,000.

There was a marked difference in the spending plans for the really small businesses and the midsize businesses in the survey pool.

During 2012, about 54 percent of the companies with fewer than 50 employees indicated that they would buy tablets; about 89 percent of that group said they would increase or maintain spending for tablet computing technology. Their average budget allocation is far less: just $2,000 during the next 12 months. What's more, small businesses were less likely to gravitate toward the iPad than the larger ones, which means there definitely is opportunity for other vendors to make their mark in this customer segment.

I think it is worth noting that the NPD study was fielded in September 2011, before the release of Amazon.com's Kindle Fire. That platform has gotten plenty of attention as a worthy competitor to the iPad; just two weeks ago, VMware even released its View client virtualization software for the platform (which runs Android).

Topics: Laptops, CXO, Hardware, Mobility, Tablets, SMBs

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9 comments
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  • RE: SMBs covet tablets, Apple iPads most of all (research)

    They are about to become less productive! Spreadsheets on any tablet are a pain!
    slickjim
    • Have you used--I mean REALLY used--Numbers on an iPad?

      @Peter Perry
      It might change your mind. (But I doubt it.)
      Userama
      • RE: SMBs covet tablets, Apple iPads most of all (research)

        @Userama yes, it was a pain in the arse! It isn't the program it is that the input is so much more awkward than using a keyboard and mouse!
        slickjim
    • RE: SMBs covet tablets, Apple iPads most of all (research)

      @Peter Perry
      What's a spreadsheet anymore? And who's creating content on a tablet? Its all about getting content, not making it.
      GDieball
    • RE: SMBs covet tablets, Apple iPads most of all (research)

      @Peter Perry Right, because for viewing, pan and zoom are overrated on a 10-inch tablet. And as for creating content on an iPad, just use a Bluetooth keyboard. Psst! You can write with one as well.
      Rabid Howler Monkey
  • If MS can demonstrate compelling ...

    ... touch based productivity apps on desktop and portable touch based PCs (hopefully at CES 2012) then the company should be able to make businesses and consumers wait for Windows 8. Yes it's going to be important for MS to demonstrate the advantages of Windows 8 on traditional PC hardware (e.g. a brand new ecosystem of apps) but MS must also has to wow the market with innovative touch based desktop and portable PC designs. E.g. I'd like to see touch based desktop and portable PC designs that have integrated VOIP based phones that come with wireless headsets, and are powered by an optional, advanced version of Skype. I'd like to see demonstrations of Office, Autodesk apps, and Adobe apps, that make use of styluses and innovative custom soft keyboards, in touch based apps. I'd like to see at least one tablet design where the tablet is able to pivot when placed on a flat surface, and where you can attach to it a physical keyboard using either the Transformer or Slider design by Asus.

    It seems to me also that it would be prudent for MS to specify two or more tiers of Windows 8 systems. Tier 1 could be systems at about the iPad level, and tier 2 could be systems greater than this level. Tier 1 Windows 8 systems would be able to run light apps, and tier 2 Windows 8 systems would be able to run tier 1, as well as heavyweight apps like MS Office and Adobe Photoshop. Tier 1 systems could be based on ARM and Intel's Atom processors, while tier 2 systems could be based on Intel ix core processors. Tier 1 systems could be largely sold to consumers or business individuals with light computing needs, while tier 2 systems could be sold to businesses and consumers who need the full power of a PC. I believe the delineation would make it easier to sell Windows 8 PCs to the current low end tablet market, as well as the higher end PC market.
    P. Douglas
    • RE: SMBs covet tablets, Apple iPads most of all (research)

      @P. Douglas

      Good thoughts. I have only one "negative" comment. And that concerns your tier 2 tablets using Intel ix core processors. If manufactures can overcome the weight and short battery charge duration times traditionally associated with this Intel tablet design, than it should succeed in the market place. So far, the evidence that those issues have been addressed has not been demostrated.
      kenosha77a
  • Intel claims that its ...

    ... soon to be broadly released 22nm, tri-gate, Sandy Bridge chips, will yield about 50% power savings for a given chip's performance. Dell e.g. claimed earlier this year that its "Vostro 3550 [a Sandy Bridge based laptop], which includes a 15-inch screen, provides around 13.5 hours of battery life with a nine-cell battery and 7.5 hours on a six-cell battery, " PCs built around a System On a Chip (SOC) Sandy Bridge based technology, should show even greater power efficiency than those built around Sandy Bridge CPUs. Therefore OEMs should be able to bring out Tier 1 and Tier 2 PCs, based on Intel Sandy Bridge technology, with decent battery life.
    P. Douglas
  • Apple has targeted the small business sector for growth

    The iPhone and iPad, in addition to Mac OS X desktops, laptops (and servers) can only strengthen Apple's play for market share in this sector.
    Rabid Howler Monkey