Small Biz Are Big Spenders

Many markets stand to benefit from the deep pockets of small businesses (SBs) of up to 99 total employees, according to comprehensive research by Access Markets International (AMI) Partners, Inc. that indicates an IT spending spree of roughly $340 billion in 2002.

AMI expects the U.S., France, U.K. Germany, Japan, and Australia — what AMI refers to as “AMI core six” — to account for 21.7 percent of the 76 million small businesses worldwide, generating 58 percent of the total IT spending ($195.8 billion).

Global SBs will be responsible for generating $68 billion in revenues for global PC vendors in 2002 on 64.2 million new units. Eric Shuster, executive vice president and managing director for AMI, comments on the importance of the PC to SBs: “The PC continues to be the backbone of small business operations from the florist in California, to the financial services firm in New York. Although a tighter economy and more powerful PCs have slowed down the replacement cycle, most small businesses have come to realize that there is no substitute for a quality PC being driven by a hard-working individual.”

AMI’s in-depth research also revealed that SBs are expected to purchase roughly 3.76 million servers in 2002, representing a whopping increase of nearly 50 percent after a relatively flat year in 2001. Total global network spending will reach $48.2 billion in 2002 — an increase of 15 percent from 2001 — as almost 15 million SBs use local area networks (LAN) composed of servers, networking hardware, software, services, intranets, WAN, and wireless LANs (WLANs).

Furthermore, network-based storage solutions posted a 207 percent increase in installations, and AMI estimates that by the end of 2002 over 2.7 million global SBs will be utilizing some form of network storage, either network-attached storage (NAS), or a storage area network (SAN), spending an estimated $1.7 billion globally on these storage-related solutions.

AMI predicts that the 28.8 million Internet-connected SBs are expected to spend $78.8 billion dollars globally in 2002 on over 12 million Web sites that could generate as much as $621 billion in revenue from in 2003. Over 13 million SBs have deployed high-speed Internet connections, spending nearly $17 billion — almost twice that being spent on dial-up access.

The telecommunications market is forecast to experience a 9 percent decrease from 2001, as global SBs spend an estimated $280 billion on long distance, local, and wireless communications.

Spending on packaged and customized software among global SBs could reach a total of $40.4 billion in 2002, with hosted applications accounting for one-quarter. Customer relationship management/salesforce automation applications garner significant revenue from deployments among 4.6 million SBs worldwide, doubling in 2003.

Even though AMI finds that almost 2.2 million SBs with PCs are without an IT security solution, 69 percent utilize anti-virus software, and 24 percent have a firewall installed. Only 8 percent have some sort of intrusion detection solution in place.

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