Consumers are using mobile technology to shop for an ever-widening range of products and services. Business buyers are no exception--even though the "products" they shop for are companies valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars.
A recent study by BizBuySell.com showed that buyers are increasingly browsing listings on smartphones and other mobile devices. In an industry that typically relies on face-to-face scouting and site visits, mobile is helping buyers quickly narrow their searches to a handful of companies that meet their personal and business requirements.
According to the web-traffic study, unique mobile visits increased over 100 percent from January 2012 to January 2013. As a result, mobile visits currently represent 28 percent of total unique visitors, up 88 percent from the same time last year.
Buying a small business requires extensive research and a thorough evaluation of candidate companies to identify the right fit for the buyer. As mobile device interfaces, screen-size and processing speeds improve, buyers are finding it easier to utilize their smartphones and tablets to help them research potential businesses from the field or from the comfort of their homes.
Tablet Traffic Doubles Since Last Year
In the past year, tablet unique visitors to BizBuySell.com increased at a significantly higher rate than smartphone unique visitors. Total tablet visits now account for 12 percent of total unique visitors, up 97 percent from 2012.
The increase in the use of tablets to shop for businesses correlates to the rise of tablets in the business world. Many entrepreneurs and business professionals have adopted the tablet as a productivity tool and mobile workspace because these devices enable them to perform work-related activities on-the-go. Not surprisingly, most tablet growth is attributed to Apple's iPad. The number of unique visitors using iPads grew 146 percent year-over-year to account for 39 percent of total mobile traffic and over 90 percent of tablet traffic to BizBuySell.com.
Smartphones Still Rule the Playground
Despite the increased use of tablets, smartphones still dominate site visits among mobile users, accounting for 57 percent of unique visitors to the site. Prospective buyers tend to favor mobile business searches over traditional methods of looking for a small business to purchase.
In a reversal of consumer trends, browsing data shows that business buyers favor the use of Apple products over Android. Recent consumer market share numbers from comScore show Android with a 53.4 percent share of the smartphone market and Apple with 36.3 percent--an approximate inverse of the ratio of iOS to Android users in the business-for-sale marketplace.
The use of mobile technology in the business-for-sale marketplace has the potential to improve buyer productivity and reduce the length of the selling cycle. But regardless of the technology that is used to identify promising new business ventures, it's important for buyers to avoid substituting technological convenience for in-person research and due diligence.