Overall Small-Business App Development Flat, Highest Among Younger Business Owners

Small-business app growth has grown stagnant, reports B2B ratings and reviews firm Clutch. In 2017, the firm found that 42 percent of small businesses had a mobile app, and another 25 percent planned to build one by the end of the year. Its 2018 survey revealed no change in the 42 percent of small businesses that currently have an app.

"With less capital and smaller teams, I would expect these barriers to be even harder for smaller business to overcome," says Woody Zantzinger, vice president of business development at WillowTree, Inc., a mobile app development company.

However, the study did reveal that the younger a small-business’s owners are, the more likely they are to build a mobile app to support it. Clutch’s research found that 55 percent of Millennial-owned businesses have a mobile app, compared to 13 percent of Baby Boomer-owned small businesses.

Clutch found that 28 percent of the companies surveyed say they primarily built an app to attract new customers, an approach the company describes as ineffective since most customers don’t browse for apps. Its research points to mobile apps being best for enhancing communication with existing customers.

"When I think of a mobile app, companies with a lot of repeat customers benefit the most," adds Zantzinger. "If you're going to have an app that lives ever-present on someone's phone, that app provides businesses with new marketing opportunities to reach out to customers again and again."

Clutch's 2018 Small Business Survey included 351 small business owners and managers. The small businesses surveyed have between one and 500 employees, with 55 percent indicating that they have 10 or fewer employees. More than half (57 percent) reported annual revenue of less than $1 million. More information from the survey can be found here.

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