Discover Survey Reveal Smart Phone Trends Among Small Business Owners

Riverwoods, Illinois (PRESS RELEASE – December 21, 2010) – A third of America’s small business owners are using smart phones these days, and most of them are putting the devices to work for business needs beyond e-mail and phone calls, according to a recent survey from Discover.

And while they may not be using smart phones themselves in great numbers, 19 percent of small business owners have taken or are currently taking actions to make it easier for mobile users to access their businesses.

“Small business owners are clearly paying attention to mobile-driven consumer trends, and are looking for ways to adapt,” said Ryan Scully, director of Discover’s business credit card, who has been commissioning monthly surveys of American small business owners for over four years. “Being flexible and adaptable to a changing economy has helped small business owners succeed through the years, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see new entrepreneurs push the limits when it comes to mobility.”

Thirty-four percent of small business owners indicated they use a smart phone device, compared to 26 percent of 3,000 consumers questioned in the survey. Among the business owners who use their smart phones for more than e-mail and phone calls, 33 percent of them said they use the devices “very much,” 41 percent said they use it “somewhat,” 21 percent said “not much,” and only 3 percent said “not at all.”

No Dominant Age Group Using Smart Phones

Age wasn’t a huge differentiator in smart phone usage among small business owners, with more people in their 30s using them than in other age groups. The following list shows the percentage of people in a designated age group that use smart phones:

18 – 29 35 percent
30-39 44 percent
40-49 36 percent
50-64 27 percent
65+ 16 percent

Forty-four percent of smart phone users said they wished there were better mobile applications available to small business owners, while 20 percent weren’t sure and 35 percent expressed no desire for more applications.

The survey indicated that younger small business owners are much more likely to use their devices for conducting business: 100 percent of small business owners ages 18 to 29 use their devices “somewhat” or “very much” for business, beyond phone calls and e-mail.

When it comes to holiday gift-giving, only 3 percent of small business owners said they planned to buy or expect to receive a smart phone this season.

The views and opinions expressed by small business owners and consumers who participate in the Small Business Watch survey are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Discover Financial Services or its affiliates.

About the Small Business Watch

The Discover Small Business Watch is a monthly index measuring the relative economic confidence of U.S. small business owners who have less than five employees, a segment that consists of 22 million businesses producing more than a trillion dollars in annual receipts. The Watch is based on a national random survey of 750 small business owners. It is commissioned by Discover Business card, which strives to offer the best business credit card for American small businesses, and is conducted by Rasmussen Reports, LLC, an independent survey research firm. The numeric index is calculated by assigning values to responses to a set of five consistent questions. The base value of the Watch was established at 100.0 based on surveys conducted in August 2006. In addition to generating the index, the Small Business Watch surveys small business owners every month on key issues, and polls 3,000 consumers four times per year to gauge purchasing behavior and attitudes towards small businesses.

About Discover

Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) is a direct banking and payment services company with one of the most recognized brands in U.S. financial services. Since its inception in 1986, the company has become one of the largest card issuers in the United States. The company operates the Discover card, America’s cash rewards pioneer, and offers personal and student loans, online savings accounts, certificates of deposit and money market accounts through its Discover Bank subsidiary. Its payment businesses consist of Discover Network, with millions of merchant and cash access locations; PULSE, one of the nation’s leading ATM/debit networks; and Diners Club International, a global payments network with acceptance in more than 185 countries and territories.

Smart Phone Usage Among Small Business Owners
Survey conducted Nov. 13-14, 2010, by Rasmussen Reports, LLC, for Discover
Age Group
18-29 30-39 40-49 50-64 65+
Do you use a smart phone? Yes 34% 35% 44% 36% 27% 16%
No 62% 59% 52% 60% 69% 77%
Not sure 4% 5% 4% 4% 4% 7%
18-29 30-39 40-49 50-64 65+

If “No,” do you plan to purchase or
expect to receive one during this
holiday season?


3% 0% 0% 10% 4% 2%
No 92% 94% 94% 85% 93% 91%
Not sure 5% 6% 6% 4% 4% 7%
18-29 30-39 40-49 50-64 65+

If “Yes,” how much do you use it
for your business BEYOND
phone calls and email?

Very much 33% 32% 38% 41% 22% 41%
Somewhat 41% 68% 35% 29% 41% 27%
Not much 21% 0% 23% 25% 31% 23%
Not at all 3% 0% 4% 5% 4% 8%
Not sure 1% 0% 0% 0% 3% 0%
18-29 30-39 40-49 50-64 65+

If “Yes,” do you wish there were
better mobile apps available to
small business owners?

Yes 44% 25% 52% 49% 44% 45%
No 35% 59% 27% 27% 34% 46%
Not sure 20% 16% 21% 23% 22% 9%
18-29 30-39 40-49 50-64 65+

Have you taken, or are you currently
taking, actions to make it easier for mobile
users to access your business?

Yes 19% 27% 21% 19% 15% 8%
No 73% 59% 76% 72% 76% 80%
Not sure 8% 14% 3% 10% 9% 12%

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