Survey: 67% of SMBs Don’t Think Mobile Will Impact Them This Holiday Season

manta logoSMB directory and portal Manta puts out roughly quarterly surveys of its members (for PR purposes). Accordingly one of these surveys has just been released about holiday shopping, perceptions of the economy and consumer spending.

The survey “polled 1,003 small business owners between Sept. 26, 2013 – Oct. 7, 2013 and 1,051 small business owners between Oct. 18, 2013 – Oct. 21, 2013 via an online survey, who are members of Manta.com and have claimed their Manta business profile.”

There are a bunch of findings from the survey, most of which aren’t particularly interesting to me. However I found the question about the impact of mobile to be striking:

What impact will mobile have on your small business this holiday season?

  1. I don’t expect mobile to have any impact – 56 percent
  2. I expect an increase in mobile transactions this year – 21 percent
  3. I expect customers to redeem mobile coupons/discounts – 4 percent
  4. I expect mobile to drive shoppers to my brick-and-mortar locations – 8 percent
  5. N/A – 11 percent 

It’s hard to interpret “N/A” in this context. I would assume these are people who believe that mobile is “not applicable” to them in one way or another. The question as phrased is also broad enough to be susceptible to several interpretations by the respondent-SMBs.

For example some SMBs might have thought that the question was asking about their mobile marketing efforts or mobile e-commerce outlook. Others might have focused entirely on consumer mobile shopping, which is a more correct interpretation.

With those caveats one take on the findings above is that 67% of these SMB respondents don’t see mobile as relevant or otherwise having an impact on their businesses. Hello?

At a minimum consumers rely heavily on smartphones to locate business. But smartphone owners also conduct in-store research. Opus Research asked more than 1,000 US consumers earlier this summer about how they used smartphones in stores. These were the responses:

  1. Look for coupons or offers
  2. Compare Prices
  3. Use shopping lists
  4. Look at reviews and product information
  5. Send pictures to friends/family for their opinions
  6. Look for other nearby stores offering the same product
  7. Post questions or pictures on social networks
  8. Buy item on my phone

These responses are pretty consistent with other surveys. But the more basic question about whether smartphone owners use their devices as part of shopping is now extremely well established for at least two or three years.

It’s almost amazing to me that these Manta SMB survey respondents don’t generalize about the broader consumer population from their own anecdotal experiences. They probably own smartphones themselves and equally use them to find stores and do in-store price comparisons, etc.

Yet roughly two-thirds say that mobile isn’t going to impact them during Holiday 2013? Is this naiveté, ignorance or something else (i.e., misunderstanding the question)? What do you think?

What’s your take on these results?

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4 Responses to “Survey: 67% of SMBs Don’t Think Mobile Will Impact Them This Holiday Season”

  1. 67% of SMBs think Mobile Won’t Impact them. Opportunity! | Digital Possibilities says at

    […] to a survey by Manta (via screenwerk), 67% of SMBs don’t think that mobile will effect them this holiday […]

  2. Richard says at

    The good news for companies that are ready to take the plunge into mobile is that they will be ahead of their competitors. There really are so many ways that SMBs can leverage mobile at increasingly interesting costs. The value is increasingly there, it really is a good time to get started and grab the opportunity.

  3. Greg Sterling says at

    I totally agree. And it’s really a necessity for them now.

  4. Bart De Pelsmaeker says at

    Being active in mobile content marketing, I often ask small business owners about their opinion / plans in mobile marketing. The answers I get are in-line with the research – most people don’t think it really affects them. It is almost like a parallel (mobile) economy is developing. The few companies who do leverage mobile are reporting great ROI – conclusion: I concur :  it is a great time to get ahead of the competition. And not only for SMB’s – many corporates are aware of the importance of mobile – but didn’t I see a stat the other day saying that 44 of the Fortune 100 don’t have a mobile-friendly site?

  5. Greg says at

    A large number of big brands are still not mobile friendly. But now the issue may be confusion over whether to build responsive sites vs. mobile optimized.

  6. Weekly Roundup: Digital News The Dentists Needs - Friday, November 4th | Digitaldentalmagazine.com says at

    […] We beg to differ!  Survey: 67% of SMBs Don’t Think Mobile Will Impact Them This Holiday Season […]

  7. 6 Strategies For Helping SMBs Understand the Importance of Mobile | Street Fight says at

    […] to a Manta survey, 67% of small business owners don’t expect mobile to impact them this holiday season. Only 8% of […]

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