Last year was as challenging for B2B businesses as it was for B2Cs. Mike Crosby, industry analyst, B2B Technology for NPD Group says, “In the B2B tech channel, companies were challenged by the total disruption of the education system to large and small businesses having to instantly pivot from office to work-from-home settings.”
Plus, Crosby adds, B2B companies had to adjust their technology requirements for their newly remote workforces during the first half of 2020. And despite declining revenues, Crosby says many businesses invested in IT hardware and software so they could maintain business continuity.
As we head into 2021, Crosby says, businesses are more optimistic, due to “newly deployed vaccines [and] incremental federal stimulus critically needed by thousands of ailing small businesses.” And they have “high expectations for a strong turnaround by mid-2021.”
Overall IT Spend
Crosby expects 2021 overall budgets will be down “due to lower revenues,” but thinks “IT specific budgets will potentially see a higher spend allocation tied mainly to supporting and securing the remote workforce.” Businesses will invest in refreshing their hardware (laptops, tablets, and other devices) and increasingly focus on remote level security.
In fact, Crosby thinks businesses will prioritize their IT spend over hiring new employees.
Small Business Increases Their Efficiency
Small businesses will concentrate on “stabilization and recovery” in 2021 says Crosby. They will likely spend less overall than they did last year, but Crosby expects their “spend mix” to change. They’ll likely invest more in cloud and managed services, which can “enable more cost effective and scalable resources to help augment their limited infrastructure.”
Ultimately, Crosby says, “Small business will continue to focus on doing more with less until the recovery is well under way.”