Techaisle’s PC market study forecasts SMBs worldwide are likely to purchase 101.2 million units, a 1.9% increase from 2021, revised down from 104.5 million PCs predicted earlier in March. Workforce scarcity (58% of SMBs), inflation anxiety (47% of SMBs), recession angst (41% of SMBs), ASP (average selling price increases) of 3.3% to 7.7% q-o-q, and increasing investments in non-IT capital equipment (18% of SMBs) are contributing to the slowdown in PC purchases.
The North American and Western Europe SMB PC shipment growth rates will likely be 1.9% and 1.2%, respectively. Asia/Pacific and Latin America markets will likely grow by 2.2% and 2.4%, respectively. Healthcare and financial services will probably be the leaders in PC purchases, whereas hospitality and personal services will be the laggards. Between 11% to 15% of SMBs are using Windows 11 PCs, and between 62% to 73% of SMBs may plan to replace/upgrade Windows 10 PCs with Windows 11.
Inflation is becoming one of the biggest concerns for small businesses. Some have been forced to raise prices, whereas others have had to cut personnel or take out loans due to rising inflationary pressures. Aside from inflation, other worries are supply chain backlogs and commodity pricing. In the US alone, Russia's invasion of Ukraine has caused the energy prices to soar by 32%, with gasoline up 48% and fuel by 70%. Almost half of UK SMBs anticipate the Ukraine invasion to hurt their sales in the coming year, with an average reduction of 6%. Most are concerned that their business will be impacted by the rise in input costs which have significantly increased. They also anticipate that simply keeping the lights on will take a higher toll on their businesses than usual. However, the business owners are overwhelmingly willing to accept a hit to their operations for the greater global good.
The economic uncertainty pushes SMBs to reign in expenditures to focus on immediate transformational investments. Most small and medium businesses intend to boost their IT spending in 2022. The trend continued from the pandemic when SMBs had to increase their IT budgets to purchase technologies to help them continue to operate in those tumultuous times. Cloud applications (SaaS) are in demand, leading SMBs to spend more on cloud-based networking and infrastructure solutions. This investment will enable them to continue to adapt to changing business conditions, improve operations, and expand their business. SMBs are also reallocating their travel funds towards IT solutions. These relocated funds would be spent on operational improvement solutions such as project management, external storage devices, and servers.
Most SMBs believe that news coverage of world events has increased perception regarding their own organizations’ cybersecurity and is pushing them to prepare for a cyberattack. Some think their organizations are adequately prepared for cyberattacks, while many deem cybersecurity a grave concern. They are becoming cautious about the increased IT costs, loss of productivity, and fines impacting their business after a cybersecurity breach. This caution has amplified the adoption rate of cyber-security solutions among SMBs, and their crucial investment priorities include securing data assets and protecting remote endpoints. In the upcoming quarters, SMBs want long-term vendor assistance to secure their data assets, particularly those outside the office. Vendors who provide solutions that are simple to implement and maintain remotely will acquire business from SMBs.
SMBs are planning to invest in solutions that support business expansion and WFH employees as they believe that remote working (both full-time and hybrid models) will be more commonplace during the next 1–2 years. This is good news for MSPs and other cloud service providers as this increasing nature of remote working infer that more businesses will shift their infrastructure to the cloud. Another critical priority for SMBs includes investing in remote IT management and improved connectivity for the workers working remotely, as that will help facilitate their productivity and efficiency.
SMBs conduct business using a combination of desktops, notebooks, tablets, and smartphones. SMBs predict similar spending changes across all device categories, with more medium-sized businesses planning to increase spending than small businesses. Devices that come with solutions will be most appealing to the small businesses that lack competent IT assistance.
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