Small firms eager to use smart devices

Small firms eager to use smart devices

TECH

At least 80% of Thai micro-businesses see technology as a crucial tool to mitigate challenges, while 40% of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) plan to use printing in the next 12 months, according to a survey commissioned by HP.

"In an unfavourable economy, SMEs are a focus for HP in fiscal 2024, starting this November," said Varanit Athijaratroj, managing director of HP Thailand.

"SMEs account for 60% of the company's printing business. We need to be selective and customise to penetrate more untapped markets by offering solutions that fit their needs."

Ms Varanit said SMEs in the retail and hospitality sectors have bounced back from the pandemic, while technology is a crucial tool for every sector.

The "HP Smart Where IT Matters Study" by Kantar was commissioned by HP and covers 1,200 micro-business owners in four countries: Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia.

These four countries are important markets for HP's printing business, Ms Varanit said.

"Thailand is also part of HP's global supply chain expansion in production in the region," she said.

The survey found 80% of small Thai firms believe technology can help them deal with business challenges by improving their competitiveness.

Moreover, 85% of micro-businesses in the region use smartphones and tablets to run their business versus 74% using PCs and 59% using printers for business.

Some 87% of Thais said the smart technologies can generate competitive advantage, while 86% see them helping to future-proof their businesses.

In Thailand, baby boomers (64%) and Gen X (62%) are sceptical of a return on investment in technology, while half of Gen Z entrepreneurs share that scepticism.

More than 70% of micro-businesses fear the complexity and security of new emerging technologies when considering new investments.

"Technology simply has to work, be seamless, secure, and today it must also be sustainable," said Ms Varanit.

In Thailand 40% of the respondents plan to adopt a printer in the next 12 months, compared to PCs at 15%. Around 44% seek an affordable printer, 37% look for multi-function printer capabilities, and another 37% want printers with low maintenance costs.

The survey found 57% of Thai businesses purchase smart printers to leverage the latest tech, enable mobile printing and scanning, and improve efficiency.

Members of Gen Z (95%) who are micro-business owners show significantly high interest in purchasing a smart printer, followed by baby boomers (85%) and Gen X (80%).

To address the SMEs' needs, HP offers the simpler and affordable HP Smart Tank 700 and 500 series printers. The printer has a smart app that enables users to print via a mobile phone, and this kind of mobility capacity drives demand for a new printer from businesses such as hotels, restaurants and content creators.

In Thailand, the overall printer market volume is 1 million units, of which 60% use the tank system.

"HP's smart tank is one of the options to address SMEs' needs, with an average printing cost of around 10 satang, compared with a few years ago when the printing cost was 6 baht per page," Ms Varanit said.

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