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Mobility devices and applications are redefining North America SMBs     Date added: 01/08/2014

Mobility-related spending by US and Canada SMBs is poised to reach $71.5 billion by 2018, says AMI

New York, NY — January 8, 2014 — North America mobility-related spending is projected to grow at an estimated 10 percent CAGR, to become a staggering $71.5 billion market opportunity within the next five years. Small businesses account for over 98 percent of the 7.6 million SMB firms in the US and Canada, and these SBs drive nearly eight of every ten ICT dollars spent on mobility-related products and services. Mid-size businesses (MBs; those with 100 to 999 employees) - while they comprise only 2 percent of the SMB universe - account for the remaining 20 percent of mobility expenditures. On a per-firm basis, MBs spend considerably more than SBs—up to 15 times as much. MBs are therefore a natural target for mobility up-sell opportunities and big ticket items.

These are among market projections and insights included in AMI’s recently published study, 2014 North America SMB Mobility Landscape, Opportunity Assessment & Outlook. Based on AMI-Partners’ ongoing mobility and ICT tracking surveys in the US and Canada, the new study examines a broad spectrum of factors, including SMB tablet and smartphone adoption, mobile applications usage, BYOD behavior, mobile device management, and brand preferences. AMI’s study analyzes how smartphones and tablets are rapidly impacting—and even redefining—SMBs. “The next five years will see impressive growth in North America consumption of mobility and data plans,” stated Andrew Kirk, Associate at AMI’s New York office. “The smartphone market will experience a strong increase in related spending as a result of sustained repeat and replacement purchases. As tablet usage attains mainstream status, significantly stronger growth is expected with regard to SMB installed base, volume and associated spend. We’re forecasting a 21 percent CAGR in the U.S. and Canada for tablet data plans alone.”

AMI’s study shows that Apple iOS-powered devices are still leading among both tablets and smartphones. However, Android is fast encroaching on Apple’s dominant position among SMBs. Samsung-branded mobile devices are the front runners in the “Android surge.” Notable inroads by Windows 8 tablets are forecasted, with Microsoft increasingly driving an integrated strategy across its Windows 8 mobile platform, and directing more business-critical apps at the SMB segments.

With processor speeds on smartphones ever faster, these devices are increasingly being used for tasks that require minimal data processing but benefit from the mobile form factor. Such applications include credit card payment processing and GPS tracking. As for tablets, their larger form factor and expanding processing capabilities have resulted in their being leveraged for tasks previously performed on traditional PCs and notebooks. This is causing a technology disruption being felt across the ICT industry. In addition to basic communications activities, tablets are being used by SMBs for productivity-related applications such as editing, sharing and storing documents. Their use for interactive and real-time communications and collaborative functions is also on the rise.

The AMI study delves into many facets of the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) phenomenon—a significant factor among mobile SMBs. In their quest to cost effectively increase competitiveness and improve employee productivity, these companies are opening up their office environments to include a wider range of devices. BYOD penetration is typically higher for the more widely used smartphones (64 percent of SMBs) than tablets (54 percent of SMB firms).The need to control the type of mobile devices used by employees is higher among mid-sized businesses. A majority of MBs maintain a preferred list of brands and directly hand out tablets to employees.

Despite traditional differences in the way that North America SBs and MBs manage their ICT infrastructure, both segments are embracing mobile device management (MDM). This is particularly the case with mid-sized businesses, for which one of the highest growth areas in the next 12 months includes usage of hosted virtual desktops and MDM software to support mobile devices across the organization.

Related Studies and Links

AMI’s recently published 2014 North America SMB Mobility Landscape, Opportunity Assessment & Outlook study tracks SMBs’ mobility needs, user profiles, brand usage, selection criteria, purchase channel preferences and buying behavior at a granular level, throughout the US and Canada. The analysis delves into forces driving adoption and usage of tablet and smartphone devices, providing a clear sense of the overall market opportunity and outlook for both categories. This study provides marketers with insights to fine tune their SMB messaging and enhance their go-to-market approach.

Further, AMI’s US SMB Market Sizing and Forecasting Model provides a five-year demand outlook for 50 US states and 25 metros with respect to mobility device (smartphone and tablet) shipments and mobility data services spending. This is broken out by employee sizes, industry verticals and routes to market (RTMs).

For more information about AMI-Partners, our North America SMB mobility studies, or our global SMB research, call 212 944 5100, or e-mail

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