Tablets ResearchApproximately 52% of employees working in US small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) currently own and use media tablets, according to a new survey of more than 400 such businesses conducted by iGR. Some 47% of respondents said they use their tablets for both business and personal reasons. iGR defined SMBs as those companies with between 10 and 500 employees.

Around 24% of SMBs surveyed by iGR indicated they supplied tablets to employees as per an official policy. Approximately 26% said their companies would be buying fewer or far fewer laptops as a result of their 2012 tablet purchases, a continuation of a trend toward increased tablet usage at the expense of laptops.

“The enterprise arena, in particular, is one area in which tablets are anticipated to climb. There has been significant press generated by large corporations (e.g., Dupont, Wells Fargo, United Airlines, American Airlines, etc.) who are using tablet devices to improve, augment or replace existing business processes and practices,” commented Iain Gillott, iGR president and founder, in an announcement of the research findings.

“But as our new research clearly shows, tablets are in wide use in the small and medium sized businesses as well. Given that tablets are negatively impacting laptop purchases, this trend looks to continue.”

SMBs, like their larger counterparts, are making use of a growing variety of mobile and computing devices and technology, according to iGR. But in certain aspects, SMBs’ experiences are unique. SMB IT departments were most likely to oversee purchase, management, maintenance and support of desktop computers (90%), as well as laptops and networks (89%). But only about 55% of SMB IT departments managed and maintained tablet devices.

Substituting purchases of laptops (31.9%) was the single most common reason respondents cited for SMB tablet purchases, followed by workforce increases (31%). The majority of companies said their laptop purchase plans remained “about the same,” however., iGR said.

Sixteen percent of respondents to a recent ABI Technology Barometer consumer survey said they intended to purchase a tablet in 2012, which along with purchase intentions for smartphones and other mobile and connected devices, indicates healthy CE demand this year.

iGR’s new “SMBs: Tablet Usage” and “SMBs: Tablets and Laptops” reports provide detailed insight into how tablets are used and purchased in US SMBs, as well as how tablet purchases are affecting laptop purchases, iGR said.

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