Benchmark: What Small Businesses Buy
With so many new high-technology products hyped as indispensable, it's hard to determine what you need to remain competitive. A recently released study by BIS Strategic Decisions, a technology market-research firm in Norwell, Mass., might come in handy. Late last year BIS surveyed 1,200 managers and owners of businesses with fewer than 600 employees about their information-technology possessions and purchase plans. Here are some highlights of the survey, which focused primarily on very small companies -- 76% of the businesses surveyed employ fewer than 10 people.
Investment in Office Technology
|Type of equipment or service||Percentage of companies that plan to buy||Percentage of companies that own|
|Color ink-jet printer||7||6|
|Printer, type unknown||5||10|
|Monochrome ink-jet printer||5||12|
Companies with personal computers spend an average of $5,412 each year on software, PCs, and printers combined. The larger the business, the less it allocates per employee. Companies with fewer than 5 employees spend an average of $1,448 per worker annually, while companies with 50 to 99 employees disburse only $211 per capita. Budgets for PC-related expenditures vary from industry to industry: on average, legal-services and manufacturing companies spend more than twice as much per year as retailers.
While 61% of the businesses surveyed own desktop PCs, fewer than 20% have any combination of notebook PCs, servers, scanners, and accounts with on-line services. Word-processing software is the one class of application software that a majority -- 73% -- of PC-owning businesses use. Source: "The Small-Business Market -- 1995," BIS Strategic Decisions, Norwell, Mass., January 1995.* * *