Bredin Report: What’s on SMBs’ 2020 shopping list?

SMB 2020 shopping priorities

Each month, Bredin surveys 500 U.S. SMB principals in our shared-client survey the SMB Pulse. Recently, we asked SMBs what they plan to do or buy for their business this year.

The one thing SMBs are most likely to pay for…

…depends on their company size. For very small businesses (VSBs, those with fewer than 20 employees), it is getting something printed. 55% of VSBs plan to have flyers, business cards, banners etc. printed this year. Small businesses (SBs; 20-99 employees) are most likely to buy PCs, laptops or desktops (69%), as are mid-sized businesses (MBs; 100-500 employees) – in fact, four in five MBs plan to buy PCs in 2020.

Inside the numbers: business optimism

The top-10 purchase categories are interesting. For example, regardless of company size, business travel plans rate relatively high. Whether the travel is for client relationship management, business development or education and training, the interest in business travel – a highly discretionary expense – speaks to fundamental SMB optimism.

Other expense categories speak to business optimism as well. For example, printing, product innovation and website upgrades all speak to investment in growth. Likewise, paying down debt and increasing employee pay speak to expectations of increased profitability (although boosting employee pay is also being dictated by retention pressure in this full-employment economy). And buying new PCs can mean either replacing dated equipment to boost productivity and security, or simply to equip new employees at growing businesses – for example, 78% of MBs plan to hire new employees in 2020.

Bigger business, bigger budget

Not only are the purchase priorities of MBs and SBs different from those of VSBs, SMBs with 20 or more employees are significantly more likely to make a purchase in every one of the 26 categories we surveyed than VSBs are. And MBs have even more aggressive 2020 purchase plans; in 11 of the 26 categories, they have significantly higher purchase intent than SBs. The takeaway? It’s SMB marketing 101: bigger SMBs have much larger budgets than VSBs – but there are vastly fewer of them to sell to.

Want to learn more? Get the full list of SMB plans to make purchases in 26 categories in 2020, by company size, respondent age, industry group and growth outlook.

Want to capture your fair share of SMB 2020 spending? Contact Bredin for actionable market research and high-value custom content.

About Bredin

Bredin was founded in 1991 by America's foremost small business expert, author and syndicated columnist Alice Bredin. From its beginning, Bredin was designed to be a breed apart: 50% research consultancy, 50% creative agency, 100% focused on SMB. Based in Somerville, Mass., Bredin helps Fortune 500 companies understand, reach and retain SMB customers through timely, targeted research and award-winning marketing programs.