Take no SMB customer for granted: IDC

By : |June 2, 2009 0

FRAMINGHAM, MASSACHUSETTS: Despite the growth of the small and medium busienss (SMB) notebook market overall, brand loyalty among SMBs continues to wane, especially among small businesses.

According to a recent IDC survey, roughly 30 per cent of small firms (fewer than 100 employees) and more than 45 per cent of medium-sized businesses (100–999 employees) plan to purchase notebook computers in the next 12 months, but which brands they will purchase may come as a surprise.

SMB preferences for different brands continue to shift as vendors update and refine their notebook PC products and promotions. The availability of new form factors and features, more powerful configurations, and lower prices are changing the competitive landscape. In addition to declining brand loyalty, the overall strength of small business channel loyalty has slipped as well. The total percentage of firms citing plans to buy PCs from the same channels they used in the past 12 months has decreased considerably since IDC’s previous survey.

"The continuing shift from desktop to notebook PCs among SMBs is making effective notebook market strategy all the more important," said Justin Jaffe, senior research analyst for SMB Research at IDC. "IDC expects both brand and channel loyalty to become increasingly difficult to sustain, especially among smaller firms. Of course, this also means that the opportunity for vendors to gain share at the expense of competitors will grow."

Additional key findings from this study include the following:

Dell remains the notebook PC brand owned by the largest percentage of SMBs, but the percentage of small firms that own HP-Compaq notebook PCs has increased considerably.

The largest percentage of small and medium-sized businesses that plan to buy new notebooks in the next 12 months plan to purchase Dell notebooks. Apple is the brand next most often cited for future acquisition by small businesses and HP-Compaq by medium-sized firms.

The channel used most often by both small and medium-sized firms for PC purchases is direct response from the manufacturer, with purchasing from manufacturers online more popular than ordering by phone or mail.

This study, 2008 U.S. Small and Medium-Sized Business Notebook PC Brand and Channel Preferences: Small Firms Become Increasingly Slippery Targets, examined current notebook brand ownership among SMBs as well as the vendors preferred for future purchase. Additionally, this study describes the current channels that SMBs use to purchase PCs and those preferred in the future.

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