The Mobile Divide: Survey Shows Split Between Small Businesses Using and Avoiding Mobile Technology

Mobile technology usage has skyrocketed in recent years, changing the way consumers communicate and access the internet, and the way companies do business. In fact, many research groups have been projecting that in just a year or two there will be more mobile internet users than desktop users. Large companies have tuned into this changing climate by integrating innovative mobile campaigns to target mobile users. But have small businesses caught up with this trend?

The answer, as it turns out, is yes and no. A recent survey by Constant Contact examined mobile usage by small businesses and found that two-thirds of small business owners (66%) are using mobile devices such as smart phones, tablets and other mobile solutions. The other one-third (34%) have not adopted the trend, with the majority (65%) saying they have no plans to go mobile in the future. Let’s examine both sides of the divide.

Of those small businesses that use mobile technology:

  • Most use their mobile technology for marketing – via social media (73%) and email (71%)
  • Some small businesses have optimized their website for mobile viewing (34%), use their mobile device to take mobile payments (71%) or use a mobile/tablet point of sale system (52%)
  • Some (18%) consider mobile apps crucial to managing operations. They use features such as calendar, GPS, accounting and more

So why aren’t all small businesses going mobile?

  • About half say their customers haven’t asked for it yet. They cite no demand for mobile communication (56%) or mobile payment options (47%)
  • Of those not using mobile technology, about a third say they don’t know how to use the technology (36%) or haven’t had time to implement it (33%)
  • Finally, other small business owners claim that mobile technology is irrelevant. They either don’t own a smartphone for their business (31%) or say it’s not relevant to their industry (28%)

On which side of the mobile divide does YOUR business fall? And if you haven’t gone mobile yet, what is holding you back?

The fact is, mobile usage will likely continue to increase in the future, so we urge you to take a serious look at why you haven’t joined in yet. Do you think it is not relevant for your business? No matter what products or services you sell, mobile technology can improve the efficiency of operations and help you connect better with customers. Are you holding back because your customers haven’t demanded it yet?

It could be that you have already lost customers because you don’t have mobile options, meaning that those who would have demanded it have already gone elsewhere. If you are confused by the mobile revolution and too swamped to take on a new project, consider hiring an IT professional to get the technology set up, and, of course, keep reading Small Biz Technology to learn more ways to make mobile technology work for your business.

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Jennifer Peaslee

Jennifer has a Masters in Sociology from the University of Notre Dame. She is currently working as a freelance writer, editor, blogger and researcher.

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