Tablets are set to be a hit with small- and medium-sized businesses in 2012, according to a new NPD survey, and Apple (s aapl) is set to gain the most as a result. Among SMBs with fewer than 1,000 employees, 73 percent said they intended to buy tablets over the next 12 months, and most of those said they would be buying iPads specifically.
SMBs plan to invest $21,000 on average over the next year overall, which means that Apple stands to make a tidy profit from its control of the tablet market. Among larger firms (501–999 employees), the numbers are even better, too: Eighty-nine percent plan to get new tablets, up 8 percent from the second quarter of 2011, and 95 percent plan on spending as much or more as they currently do on tablets through the new year. On average, bigger SMBs intend to spend around $39,000 on tablets in 2012.
NPD didn’t break out iPad numbers specifically, but VP of Industry Analysis Stephen Baker says that “the iPad, just as in the consumer market, is synonymous for ‘Tablet’ in the business market.” He also notes that Apple stands to gain from the iPad’s position as a preferred tool among larger firms, which he called “an important indicator that Apple is gaining traction far outside its typical consumer space.”
Apple’s success in SMBs has been well-documented recently; iPhones and iPads lead the charge, and Apple’s own JointVenture program launched this year to encourage more SMB customers to come on board. That the iPad still occupies a prime place in the hearts and minds of small business owners going into 2012 should bode well for the iPad 3, and I think we could really see things take off in this space if Apple keeps the iPad 2 around as a low-cost option.