An article in the Philadelphia Inquirer in some ways states the obvious when its says that Millennials and teens are rapidly moving away from cash and in the direction of payment apps like Venmo and CashApp.
The article underscores a few key principals driving the Local Search Association’s Tech Adoption Index program, which is measuring the small business shift to the cloud.
First, this article reminds us that businesses, particularly small businesses, tend to lag consumer behavior. So as teens and millennials go cashless, businesses need to catch up and be ready to accept mobile payments.
Much of the world is actually ahead of the US in adoption of a cashless, card-less culture. Just check out this video on how WeChat has transformed consumer behavior in China. And this article from 2016 notes that the in 2015 the UK has already passed the tipping point of preference for contactless payments and cites a study predicting that by 2015, 75% of UK transactions will be cashless.
Second, small businesses, particularly newer businesses and those operated by younger owners, are increasingly motivated to run their businesses via their phones. Hence when we talk about the “small business shift to the cloud” what we’re really talking about is the small business shift to running their business via apps, for which the cloud is essential, but not the things that motivates the business owners to change how it does business.
And this shift has a strong generational component. According to the latest wave of Tech Adoption Index data, 35% of businesses overall report using mobile apps to run some aspect of their businesses. Among businesses that have been operating for 10 years or less, the figure is 47%. And among business decision-makers age 18-34, the figure was 56%. Roll this forward and it’s not hard to image a complete transformation in how businesses use technology over the next couple of decades.