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

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.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor

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).

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