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Benchmark Bytes: How Are SMBs Adopting Mobile Apps?

As part of the ritual of examining local commerce and SMB Saas strategies, Localogy goes right to the source: SMBs themselves. How do they feel about marketing and operational software? What features do they want? And how has their hunger changed during a global pandemic that has hit local businesses hardest?

Localogy’s Modern Commerce Monitor (MCM) wave 6.1 answers these and other questions across the SMB SaaS product set, which we preview in this Benchmark Bytes series. After the last installment examined SMBs’ succession planning, we switch gears this week to examine their mobile app adoption.

Starting at a high level, 68 percent of SMBs are using mobile apps to help run their businesses. The average number of apps they use is 6.35. More importantly, there’s a clear growth trend in both of these figures. SMB adoption is up from 36 percent in Wave IV and number of apps used is up from 3.2.

What Does it All Mean?

Going a bit deeper, a few things jump out at us:

— There’s a clear rise in SMB mobile app adoption. This is reflective of SMBs’ ongoing evolution in tech-savvy and need for mobility in their business management.

— Part of this growth in adoption is also demand-driven. In other words, consumers’ mobile engagement levels continue to grow so SMBs are catching up to their customers’ mobile use.

— It’s also likely due to the greater flexibility that mobile apps offer to manage aspects of business operations, and to do so while unchained from an office or desk. This is valuable in some verticals more than others (think: home services).

— The past year has amplified this need for mobility as a great deal of work has been done remotely. The year-over-year growth in mobile app adoption among SMBs was 4 percentage points.

— This may or may not have been covid-influenced, as it’s consistent with the pre-pandemic growth trend in SMB mobile app adoption.

— The growing number of apps per SMB is also notable, likewise indicating greater damand.

— There are more and more functions that can be handled by mobile apps, and SMBs have answered the call to use them.

— The growing fragmentation of apps also has implications for the success of best-of-breed apps that shine in a given functional area, such as payroll, communications, fintech, etc.

— We’ll circle back in an upcoming Benchmark Bytes installment to go deeper on the adoption of these functional areas.

Time to Shine

Stepping back, SMB mobile app adoption tracked by MCM continues to grow rapidly.  SMB SaaS startups and mobile app providers are correspondingly thriving with exit velocity, funding, and public-market performance. SMB SaaS is becoming a leading subsector of the broader SaaS universe.

Meanwhile, new SMB SaaS users shown in these survey results could represent permanent adopters — a concept that’s accelerated in the Covid era as SMBs are forced to accelerate their digital transformation. This sends them into the arms of SaaS providers to accomplish a range of operational and marketing functions.

We’ll return in the next installment to go deeper on other pandemic-driven areas of SMB technology adoption. That will include top goals and what types of SMBs are adopting. Let us know what additional insights jump out at you from the above data, and stay tuned for more breakdowns in our Benchmark Bytes series.

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