Tablet Sketch Small and midsize businesses (SMBs) apparently have growing plans for tablet computers and Apple iPad purchases in 2012, according to The NPD Group, a consumer market research firm. For managed services providers, SMB tablet spending plans for 2012 reinforce the need for proactive mobile device management (MDM) strategies, MSPmentor believes.

The NDP Group's third quarter SMB Technology Monitor study found that nearly 75 percent of U.S. small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) plan to buy tablets in 2012. That's a bump from second quarter results which found that 68 planned to do so. The tablet of choice for most of these SMBs? You guessed it. The Apple iPad.

The NPD Group's study included U.S. SMBs with 1,000 employees or less. The average SMB is planning to spend roughly $21,000 on tablets throughout $21,000, according to the report. But the amount varies by company size as smaller SMBs plan to spend almost $10,000 less than SMBs right around the 1,000 employee cutoff line. Here's how the spending figures break down based on company size.
  • SMBs with under 50 employees plan to spend $1,912 on tablets in 2012.
  • SMBs with 50 - 200 employees plan to spend $10,122 on tablets in 2012.
  • SMBs with 201 - 500 employees plan to spend $27,031 on tablets in 2012.
  • SMBs with 501 - 999 employees plan to spend $38,749 on tablets in 2012.
If the survey results hold true, it will be a welcomed development for mobile device management (MDM) providers. Up Just a few days ago MSPmentor predicted that the MDM space will be one of two managed services sectors to expand the most in 2012, along with managed document services (MDS). But up until now MDM software providers have focused mainly on large enterprise customers because enterprises have more mobile devices connecting to their networks. If SMBs start spending more on tablets and other mobile devices, the ever-growing list of MDM software providers will have a new market share to compete for in 2012. Stay tuned.