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Mobile's Big for Small-Business Owners

More than eight in 10 SBOs use mobile devices at least once a day for business

July 27, 2015 | Mobile | SMB

Few small businesses have joined the mobile world, but that doesn’t mean small-business owners (SBOs) aren’t glued to their phones. In fact, it’s the opposite, based on recent research by Manta. According to the June 2015 study, 80.5% of US SBOs used their mobile devices for business once a day or more. Almost 25.3% used these once an hour, 11% between three and five times daily, and 17.3% nearly 10 times a day.

Leading Ways* in Which US Small-Business Owners Use Their Mobile Device for Business Purposes, June 2015 (% of respondents)

All of that mobile time cuts into computer time. Nearly 80% of SBOs used their mobile devices while at work in front of their PCs. The main reason for doing so was to check personal messages, cited by 48% of respondents. Surprisingly, 25% said their email came in faster on their mobile devices. Just 12% copped up to being addicts, though high daily usage may mean otherwise. Fully 8% multiscreened because they preferred using their mobiles over a computer, and 7% got distracted by the alerts they received from social and gaming apps.

When it came time to get down to business, SBOs were most likely to use their mobile devices to schedule appointments and communicate with customers, cited by 55.5%. Notes and to-do lists as well as social media monitoring and participation were used by nearly three in 10, while a quarter conducted business-related banking. Expense and inventory management were much less common, as were accounting and drafting text-heavy documents and presentations.

Manta also found that SBOs were frequent app users: Nearly half accessed mobile apps for business between two and three times a day. Just over three in 10 did so once or twice a week.

Other research points to higher demand for mobile content consumption among small businesses. When a February 2015 study by Entrepreneur and G/O Digital asked US small and medium-sized businesses about the ways in which they had changed their content consumption in the past year, 32% said they required more mobile-optimized content for a better experience on smartphones and tablets.

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