Bredin Report: SMB Purchase Decision Timing

Bredin recently surveyed 500 U.S.-based SMB principals about the time it takes to make a purchase decision in 18 common product/service categories. We found that purchase timing varies widely, from an average of 47 business days for internet access to 96 for a retirement plan.

Retirement plans, health and life insurance, products to hire and recruit, and payroll have the longest decision-making timeline, at roughly 80 days. These purchases are both complicated and infrequent; they may also not seem as business-critical for SMBs as internet access or a PC.

Conversely, the fastest decisions are in technology, including internet access, printers, cellphones, and PCs. While these are not necessarily frequent purchases, especially for very small businesses, they are much less complicated than HR-related services, and are essential for employees to get work done.

Activities that affect business finances have varying timespans. Checking accounts are a relatively quick decision, at an average of 56 days, while business credit card decisions are slightly slower, at 62, and loans/lines of credit take a bit longer, coming in at 76 days.

Businesses with 20 to 99 employees make purchase decisions faster than their smaller (1-19EE) and larger (100-500EE) peers in 15 of the 18 categories surveyed. Otherwise, there is relatively little difference between SMBs by size.

SMB Purchase TimingSMB Purchase Timing

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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.