Nearly three-quarters of small businesses are planning on buying tablets for their company next year -- and most of them want those new mobile devices to be iPads, according to the National Purchase Diary of North America.
The survey found that as the number of employees in the small business grew, so did the likelihood that they would be purchasing tablets for business.
For businesses with fewer than 50 employees, the intent to purchase a tablet was 54%. That percentage increased until it reached a staggering 89% of companies between 501 and 999 employees planning to buy those shiny flat computer devices. Of all the businesses considering a tablet, 73% thinking of going the route of the iPad.
“Businesses of all sizes appear to be determined to capitalize on the tablet phenomenon,” said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD, said in a statement Thursday. “The iPad, just as it is in the consumer market, is synonymous for ‘Tablet’ in the business market, leaving Apple poised to take advantage of the increased spending intentions of these SMBs. NPD’s research shows that iPad purchase preference is higher among larger firms than smaller ones, which is an important indicator that Apple is gaining traction far outside its typical consumer space.”
Among the SMBs surveyed, 73% stated intent purchase tablets over the next 12 months, up from 68% in the NPD Group’s second quarter survey. An overwhelming 90%, of all firms anticipate spending the same amount or more on tablets next year.
The average budget that a SMB will spend on tablets is projected to exceed $21,000 over the next 12 months, but depending on company size, the intent and amount spent changes drastically.
Despite the heavy price tag, Apple competitors are going to have to work hard to change the mind of business decision-makers that seem to have put their confidence in the iPad product.
Although the NPD study only focused on small businesses in this study, the iPad gained a great deal of traction in larger corporations. A study released in May by Model Metrics showed 83% of IT departments at 448 companies planned to have a library of iPads by the end of 2013.
There is still time, however, for competitive tablets to shift some of those companies toward other devices, but it looks to be an uphill battle and will heavily depend on some great buzz about functionality of newer tablets entering the market in the next few months (especially if the iPad 3 hits the market soon.)
While the Amazon Kindle Fire, a 7-inch tablet priced at $199, showed great acceptance over the holidays and quickly became a strong competitor with the iPad, it is still thought of as the budget option for those that can't bear to pay north of $500 for a mobile device. But with rumors already strong that Amazon is working on new Kindle Fires with 8.9-inch and 10.1-inch displays, the company could show a stronger pull from those in the market for iPads.
Earlier this month we reported the confirmed slip that Google would bring out a new tablet option soon. Google will "market a new tablet of the highest quality in the next six months," according to Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google, in an offhand comment a week ago during an interview with an Italian newspaper, Il Corriere della Sela.
It is just speculation right now, but best estimates say that the Google tablet will be a part of the company's Nexus series, like the new Samsung Galaxy Nexus.
The only thing we do know is that the new device is meant to offer competition to the release of the iPad 3, or that the new tablet will run on the latest version of Google's mobile OS Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS).
Microsoft also looks to be coming back into the tablet game, at least two years in waiting, with a device that would run on the strong Windows 8 system.
Since many people will be upgrading their computers and be trying out the newly released Windows phone in the new year, this may help build the buzz for the Windows tablet -- but it seems like a long bet that it will push iPad off of the top spot as the household name for tablet services.