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npd-group-tablet-purchasing-and-intent-jan12.gif73% of US small and medium businesses (SMBs) with fewer than 1000 employees plan to purchase a tablet in the next 12 months, according to The NPD Group’s Q3 SMB Technology Monitor, representing a 7% rise from 68% in Q2. Among the SMBs surveyed, 90% anticipate spending the same amount or more on tablets over the next 12 months, with the iPad being the most considered tablet among those firms planning an upcoming purchase.

According to a September 2011 survey from Fonalitiy and Webtorials, although only 43% of SMBs currently use tablets, this figure will rise 77% to 76% in 18 months.

Spend Varies By Size

Although The NPD Group finds the average investment on tablets among SMBs to be projected at close to $21,500, the intent to buy and amount of investment varies dramatically according to company size. In particular, smaller businesses do not plan on purchasing with the same intent as their larger counterparts. Over the next 12 months, just 54% of companies with fewer than 50 employees plan on new tablet purchases, with 89% planning to increase or maintain spending. By contrast, 89% of businesses with 501 – 999 employees plan to purchase new tablets, up 8% from Q2 2011.

PC Market Hit

The increased spending on tablets has put a crimp on PC spending intentions, according to separate analysis from The NPD Group. In Q3, only 36% of firms with less than 50 employees reported that they expect to increase spending on PCs, while less than one-quarter of the largest firms (501 – 999 employees) anticipated spending additional sums.

Mixed Bag for Spending Cuts

Only a small proportion are making the choice to cut spending on PCs in the coming 12 months, though. Less than 20% of the businesses expect to spend less on PCs, while only about 1 in 10 large firms indicated that they anticipated spending nothing on PCs. However, the smallest firms paint a different picture: almost half of those surveyed expressed an intent to cut PC spending in the coming year.

Overall, according to NPD Group analysis, the expected spend on PCs in the coming 12 months for both the smallest and largest SMBs would equate to replacing about 10-15% of the company’s installed base.

About the Data: The Q3 installment of the SMB Technology Monitor was fielded in September 2011.

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