iPad, Android Tablet Use Growing Among Small Businesses: Report

By Nathan Eddy  |  Print this article Print

Sales of Apple's iPad to small businesses are leading the sector's move to tablet computers, a Techaisle survey found.

A total of 8.87 million tablet PCs are being used by small to medium-size businesses in the United States according to a Techaisle survey of 1,356 SMBs. It is estimated that slightly more than 50 percent have been purchased by consumers and used for business. A large percentage of small businesses (SBs) do not yet have any formal policy of supporting tablets, according to the survey results, whereas 48 percent of medium businesses (MBs) have already established such a policy.

Healthcare and financial services verticals are early adopters of tablet PCs, survey results indicated. Reflecting its strong consumer roots, the Apple iPad dominated among very small businesses, but research indicated Google’s open source Android operating system (OS) is making inroads among larger SBs and MBs. Overall, 64 percent of SMBs are single OS adopters.

The survey also found 71 percent of SMBs are using tablets as an additional device rather than replacements. Of the SMBs who plan to buy a tablet in the next 12 months, 77 percent are repeat buyers. While most tablet purchases are intended to be add-ons to existing PCs, larger SMBs express a desire to replace notebooks with these devices, survey results indicated.

Actual purchase decision will likely be driven by a more logical analysis of capabilities of both devices, Techaisle noted. For example, lighter notebooks with better battery life and instant on capabilities could hinder replacement by tablet PCs. Security, lack of keyboard and compatibility are key inhibitors in adopting tablet PCs, according to the company’s research.

Survey results also indicated tablets are currently found in corner offices and executive suites, although SMBs said they plan to expand usage among employees. However, the survey indicated broader adoption depends upon the availability of apps supporting line of business, productivity applications and pricing. The results were released by Techaisle as part of its SMB Mobility Adoption and Trends Reports covering tablet PCs, smartphones, mobile work environment and mobility applications. Reports are also being compiled for additional countries, including the UK, Germany, Brazil, Australia, France and Italy.