Recession crimps high tech in small businesses


SAN FRANCISCO
November 24, 2009 8:10am


•  Owners re-think technology usage

•  ‘Adapting to meet the needs of an increasingly tech-savvy consumer base’


As they struggle through the worst recession since the bread lines of the 1930s, America’s small businesses are re-evaluating their use of technology, according to a new survey.

The latest Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index, surveyed Oct. 5-9, shows over half of respondents (58 percent) reporting that they have delayed technology purchases due to the economy, including purchases of new computers (60 percent), new hardware (56 percent) and new software (56 percent).

However, there is a narrow percentage (13 percent) that report accelerating purchases in order to cut costs or build efficiencies.

Generally, however, business owners are relying on technology to connect and conduct business with their customers. Half (50 percent) of respondents report having a website, and half (50 percent) report accepting credit cards, both up from when the questions were last surveyed in 2007 (44 percent, and 46 percent respectively).

Some business owners are also exploring new avenues of reaching customers, with slightly more than a quarter (29 percent) of respondents reporting that they use social networking sites for personal or business use. Among those who do use social networking sites, almost half (45 percent) use them to market or promote business and products, to connect with customers (48 percent) or to build an online reputation (44 percent).

“The use of technology has become an integral component of a business owners’ ability to effectively engage and communicate with customers,” says David Pope, Wells Fargo Small Business Segment manager. “Small and mid-sized companies nationwide are evaluating their use of technology and adapting to meet the needs of an increasingly tech-savvy consumer base.”

Methodology

Results are based on telephone interviews with 602 small business owners in the continental United States conducted Oct. 5 –9. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4 percentage points.

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