Small Businesses Use Mobile Devices, But Don’t Optimize For Them [Survey]

By May 3, 2013 3 Comments

smartphones-mobileIn writing about small businesses for about 7-8 years now, I’ve noticed one thing time and time again: Surveys about SMBs and technology (or marketing) often have conflicting data — sometimes in the same survey!

That’s the case with the recent 2013 AT&T Small Business Technology Poll, which indicated that a strong majority of small business owners are use mobile devices at work … but few of these same businesses have websites that are optimized for mobile devices.

Crazy, huh?

The numbers show that 69 percent of the SMBs surveyed use tablets at work, and 85 percent use smartphones.

On the other hand, less than one-third of respondents say they have a mobile-friendly website. The survey doesn’t reveal the exact percentage here, but says “Nearly one-third of small businesses use mobile-friendly websites to engage with customers.”

On the bright side, 71 percent said they plan to spend more money this year on mobile marketing, so hopefully some of that will include developing mobile-friendly websites.

This is one of the topics that we touch on during our Local U workshops — the fact that consumers are getting local business information in a variety of ways now, from desktop computers to smartphones to tablets to voice-assisted searching and much more. Mobile used to be an optional, luxury item for small businesses, but that’s changing quickly.

(Photo by closari via Creative Commons.)

Carrie Hill
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  • Caleb Donegan says:

    Seems like a lot of SMB’s, even the ones that use mobile frequently, don’t realize the importance that they themselves are present in the space. Excuses like “My customers don’t use mobile devices” are far too common. This used to be a much more true statement, but with the mobile evolution occurring so quickly it is no longer the case for many industries.

    Always skeptical about the stats talking about the plans to spend more in the space as well. Seems like every year small companies are “planning” to spend more, and many do, but not at the rate that most polls speculate. Hopefully this trend will change as the value of mobile becomes more and more obvious.

  • David D. says:

    It’s interesting that while many small business owners use mobile devices practically 24/7, most still haven’t made the connection that their customers use them just as much, too. So every business’ website, and email for that matter, should be mobile-friendly. And Local SEO and mobile-friendly websites go hand in hand.

    • Matt McGee says:

      Yes, and I think there’s probably a degree of the SMB not knowing where to begin when it comes to making sure the website is mobile-optimized.

      Caleb – I agree with you. We should keep in mind that what people say in surveys doesn’t always match the reality of what they actually do.

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