Survey Finds Mobile Technologies Saving U.S. Small Businesses More Than $65 Billion a Year¹
DALLAS and WASHINGTON, D.C., May 14, 2014 — For businesses of all sizes, saving time means saving money, but perhaps for none does that ring more true than for small businesses. In fact, millions of them are tapping into technology to save time and, ultimately, money as well – to the tune of a staggering $67.5 billion a year – by using mobile apps, tablets, and smartphones in their day-to-day business activities.¹
The savings were calculated based on results of a just-released survey commissioned by AT&T* and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council), a nonprofit advocacy, research, training and networking organization dedicated to protecting small business and promoting entrepreneurship.
Among mobile technologies, the 2014 AT&T-SBE Council Small Business Technology Poll** found that smartphones are saving business owners the most time (1.24 billion hours) and money ($32.3 billion) annually. Tablets (saving 754.2 million hours and $19.6 billion a year) and mobile apps (saving 599.5 million hours and $15.6 billion a year)¹ are also providing small businesses with more time.
With the increased time savings resulting from using mobile apps and devices, business owners indicate that they’re not getting any more rest or relaxation. Instead, they’re re-investing the extra time back into their businesses to grow sales, increase engagement with customers, and research their respective industries to learn about new trends or competitors.
“Clearly, we are at a point where entrepreneurs now look first to communications technologies and innovations for solutions to improve productivity, cut costs and better manage and engage with customers," said SBE Council president & CEO Karen Kerrigan. “That is time and money that can go back into driving sales and innovating in the marketplace.”
Smartphones have become almost ubiquitous among small businesses with 94 percent using them to conduct business, up from 85 percent last year. More than half of small businesses say they use mobile applications, with the vast majority of those (91 percent) saying it helps them save time and two-thirds saying it saves them money. The majority of those businesses estimate they are saving up to $500 a month – or $6,000 per year – by using mobile apps.
The survey also found that the average number of days small business employees are using smartphones to conduct business exceeds the average number of days they are open for business. While small businesses are open an average of 5.7 days per a week, nearly half (49 percent) of small business owners with smartphones are using them to conduct some business activities 7 days a week.
“In the current economy, mobile technologies are critical to enabling small businesses to save tremendous amounts of time and money by helping them do more with less,” said Cathy Martine, AT&T President of Enterprise Business Solutions. “As a result, we’re seeing more and more small business owners and employees turning to mobile technologies to not only keep them connected but to put them ahead of the curve, as well as their competition.”
Additional findings from the 2014 AT&T-SBE Council Small Business Technology Poll include:
- Exactly 31 percent of small businesses report they save at least five hours per week as a result of using laptops or notebooks.
- As businesses become more mobile, owners report an increase in use and device dependency over the last two years.
- Approximately three-fourths of small businesses report their use of mobile devices has increased because it allows them to operate remotely.
- Small businesses also attribute the rise in device use to an improvement in operational efficiencies, time savings and an increase in employee productivity.
- Nearly one-third of small businesses have seen their use of mobile data at least double over the past two years due to such common activities as downloading and uploading files on their mobile devices.
Mobile Apps Usage
Over the last two years, the use of mobile apps by small businesses has increased by 65 percent. Of the small businesses that use mobile applications, the majority (92 percent) are using smartphones to tap into apps.
- Also, more than three-fourths (77 percent) are consistently relying on three or more mobile apps. The most commonly used app types were remote document access, travel planning, and banking/finance management.
- Topping the list of most-used apps for the fourth consecutive year of the survey were GPS/navigation and mapping apps.
- More than nine out of 10 respondents (92 percent) who use mobile apps have them on their smartphone, while slightly more than half use them on their tablet.
- Of the small businesses using mobile apps, more than three in four (77 percent) are using three or more apps, with 5 percent using 20 or more apps … GPS/navigation and mapping apps as the most prominent.
For more information and additional results from the 2014 AT&T-SBE Council Small Business Technology Poll, please click here.
For free business resources such as webinars, case studies, and best practices, visit the AT&T Small Business Solutions website. Additionally, real-time information and updates can be found on the AT&T Small Business Facebook page and AT&T Small Business Twitter channel.
¹ Time and dollar savings for small business were computed by the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) using data from the 2014 AT&T-SBE Council Small Business Technology Poll, U.S. Census Data and the Fall 2013 American Express OPEN Small Business Monitor. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 5,104,014 employer firms with less than 20 workers in 2011 (latest data). Based on the Fall 2013 American Express OPEN Small Business Monitor, small business owners work an average of 10.5 hours per day, and earn an average annual salary $68,300. Assuming 50 workweeks, the per hour pay for small business owners was $26.02.
· Regarding mobile apps, the 2014 AT&T-SBE Council Small Business Technology Poll shows that 51.5 percent of small businesses use mobile apps. Using the U.S. Census Bureau data, there would be 2,628,567 small businesses using mobile apps. Of the small firms using mobile apps, the average hours saved per week for the owner of the business was 5.007 hours. 91.1 percent of owners using mobile apps report that the use of those apps saves them time, which equates to an estimated 2,394,625 small businesses with owners saving time with mobile apps. Over the course of one year, small business owners save an estimated 599.5 million hours of their time, with the dollar value of those savings estimated at $15.6 billion annually.
· Regarding tablets, the 2014 AT&T-SBE Council Small Business Technology Poll shows that 61.7 percent of small businesses use tablets. Using the U.S. Census Bureau data, there would be an estimated universe of 3,149,177 small businesses using tablets. Of the small firms using tablets, the average hours saved per week for the owner of the business was 4.79 hours. Over the course of one year, small business owners save an estimated 754.2 million hours of their time due to tablet use, with the dollar value of those savings estimated at $19.6 billion annually.
· Regarding smartphones, the 2014 AT&T-SBE Council Small Business Technology Poll shows that 94.3 percent of small businesses use smartphones. Using the U.S. Census Bureau data, there would be an estimated universe of 4,813,085 small businesses using smartphones. Of the small firms using smartphones, the average hours saved per week for the owner of the business was 5.16 hours. Over the course of one year, small business owners save an estimated 1.24 billion hours of their time, with the dollar value of those savings estimated at $32.3 billion annually.
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** Methodology. The 2014 AT&T-SBE Council Small Business Technology Poll was conducted with 1,042 small businesses from 48 states and the District of Columbia from March 26-31, 2014. The survey was conducted using the ResearchNow online business panel with small business owners or employees, who are the key decision-maker for computer purchases and maintenance, Internet service and telephones (e.g., information technology). Small businesses were defined as having between one and 20 employees, both part-time and full-time.
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About Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council
The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) is a 501c(4) advocacy, research, training and networking organization dedicated to protecting small business and promoting entrepreneurship. SBE Council works to educate elected officials, policymakers, business leaders and the public about key policies that enable business start-up and growth. Through advocacy, research, media outreach, training and education, SBE Council members and staff convey the importance of entrepreneurship to job creation, innovation, economic growth and U.S. competitiveness. SBE Council is viewed as one of the most powerful and effective organizations dedicated to protecting small business, and promoting entrepreneurship.
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