IT trends within wholesale, resale and retail businesses

In August 2013, we held our first annual Apple for business survey. We wanted to give you the chance to compare yourselves against the competition, to see technology trends within your industry, and to get an idea of how Mac and iPad are being used by businesses. While the survey itself was designed to provide information on technology in businesses as a whole, we were able to pull some interesting stats from respondents within wholesale, resale and retail.

Macs for graphic design, iPad and iPhone for bespoke job functions

With 25% of respondent reporting that Apple is the primary platform used, we asked them to tell us what they primarily use any Mac, iPad and iPhone devices for. For Mac, the results were unsurprising and mirrored those across businesses as a whole. Graphic design, video editing and audio editing all ranked highly (supporting the Mac’s creative heritage) while emails, word processing, spreadsheets and video conferencing were also popular choices.

The prominence of Mac in creative teams was echoed later in the survey. When asked to what extent Apple products are used across their business, a quarter of respondents said that “Apple is the primary platform used.” Where Apple is confined to a one or multiple departments – “If Apple products are limited to one or a handful of departments, which of the following best describe the departments they are used in?” – 85.7% identified that Macs are used by the marketing department, far in advance of its closest competition, IT support with 28.6%.

For iPad and iPhone, internet browsing, note-taking and calendars were among the most common functions. However, within wholesale and resale respondents, there were additional job-specific functions – both devices are being used for stock management, point of sale, customer interactions, visual merchandising and to display sales catalogues.

The appearance of these uses of iPad and iPhone within the survey results supports a general trend towards using iOS devices within the retail industry. For example, there are now a range of iPad- and iPhone-based POS options available for shops that help facilitate a more dynamic in-store environment.

Rather than being confined to a till, sales assistants can walk around the shop, showing customers product catalogues, checking stock levels and handling credit and debit card purchases literally anywhere. The move to iOS POS is a trend which is already prominent in the US, but is increasingly being seen in the UK.

Interestingly, only 25% of the businesses surveyed said that they have their own in-house iPad or iPhone app that has been developed for a specific job function. The usage of a custom app is part of a growing trend within businesses.

The most used day-to-day device within wholesale and resale is the desktop computer

It’s important to point out that responses came from a number of different job functions. We received information from those who identified themselves as from Creative and Sales teams as well as IT and HR.

We asked “Which of the following devices do you use day-to-day?” Of those who responded, 62.5% identified the desktop computer as their most used device; a further 37.5% said that they primarily use a laptop or notebook. Interestingly, no one said that they use a tablet or mobile phone as their main device. In the wider research, 12.3% of respondents from all business types said that they used a mobile device rather than a computer.

Fewer instances of BYOD than in business as a whole

As part of the research, we wanted to get an idea of trends around bring your own device (BYOD) schemes; employers are starting to see more employees bringing in their own laptops, tablets and mobile phones into the workplace and use them for work purposes.

However, 57.14% of respondents in the survey identified that all of the devices they use at work are owned by the business – when factoring in all industries, this number was much lower at 39.68%. This difference is hardly surprising: if mobile devices are being increasingly used for POS and in-store service, the security requirements would be too great for employees to use their own phones and tablets.

100% of the remaining respondents said that they use their personally-owned mobile phone at work, roughly two-thirds said that they use a tablet which does not belong to the business, and one-third said they use their own laptop for work purposes.

Easy to integrate and popular, but perceived as expensive

The survey asked current Apple users to what extent they agree with a number of statements that have been made about Apple products.

By far the strongest opinion came in response to “There are key synergies with existing Apple-based products when buying additional Apple-based products.” 87.5% of respondents agreed, with the remaining unsure as to whether or not they felt this was accurate. This echoes the results from all businesses where around 76% of respondents were in agreement.

Similar results were seen for “It is easy to integrate Apple products into my workplace” where around 75% of respondents agreed with the statement. Interestingly, around 75% also said that they would “have resistance internally” if they were to switch to using Apple-based products. But as 50% identified that they believe “Apple IT products are too expensive,” and 50% said that, “Windows-based systems interface better with our customers and suppliers” this may be seen as due to cost and compatibility rather than IT readiness.

To find out more about compatibility between Mac and Windows, take a look at our Apple for business site here. Or to find out why Macs are often the cheaper option, have a read of our total cost of ownership whitepaper here.

What is clear though is that Apple products remain the popular choice: around two thirds of respondents said that “Most people in our office would rather have Apple-based products” and when asked, “Do you think Apple products help you do your job better?” 100% agreed.

Want to find out more about Apple for your business? Take a look at our business site here, get in touch with us on 03332 409 319 or email B2B@Jigsaw24.com.

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