The hiring outlook among small businesses may be pretty grim this year, but small and midsize companies are increasing the amount of money they are spending on technology — especially on tablet computers, according to new data compiled by Spiceworks.
The organization's latest State of SMB IT survey suggest that budgets rose 19 percent during the first half of 2013, which is the biggest increase demonstrated in the past three years. Budgets are estimated at an average of $192,000 this year, up from the $162,000 that the survey respondents were predicting at the end of 2012.
The increases were most pronounced among the smallest companies in the survey sample, those with fewer than 250 employees.
The data reflects the opinions of 1,000 IT professionals who are members of the Spiceworks community of IT professionals. The survey is conducted twice per year as an ongoing gauge of small and midsize business (SMB) buying intentions.
Here are a couple of other statistical highlights:
- Hardware claimed the largest share of IT budgets, with tablet computers showing the largest six-month increase. Indeed, 42 percent of those surveyed intend to purchase new devices this year.
- At least 61 percent of the surveyed SMBs use at least one cloud service. The smallest companies in the sample (those with fewer than 20 employees) are the most likely to deploy cloud services. Currently, they spend almost 19 percent of their budgets on these services, which is almost double what is spent by companies with 20 to 1,000 employees.
- Almost 72 percent of the respondents said they have invested in server virtualization, which is a 7 percent increase over the results from the second half of 2012.
From a geographical point of view, 68 percent of the survey respondents were from North America, 25 percent were from the EMEA regions, 6 percent were from Asia-Pacific, and 1 percent was from Latin America.