Age reveals itself but paper, pen and print remain central to the SMB decision making process

Generation Y maintains its trust in the written word to make decisions within according to European SMB research from HP

BOEBLINGEN, February 11th, 2009 – The younger generation of SMB employees are placing more reliance on the printed and written word to support their decision making process than their older colleagues according to new research published by HP. 84% of 16-24 year olds working in SMBs always or usually revert to printed or written materials when preparing to make a key decision at work, compared with an average of 77% across all age groups and just 59% for the highest age group surveyed, 55-64 year old employees.

The survey analysing working patterns and decision making practices was conducted with SMBs across the UK, France, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Italy and Russia. It also reveals that – despite a higher reliance on paper for decision making – the youngest generation is also the most flexible with respect to the process.

According to the survey, 47% of this youngest age profile always or usually prepared for making key business decisions whilst travelling to and from the office (compared with an average across all ages of 36%); 38% always or usually uses the weekends to contemplate key decisions (against 28%); and 17% always or usually reflects on decisions during their vacations (12%).

Tatiana Fish SMB Marketing Manager, LaserJet and Enterprise Solutions, HP Imaging & Printing Group EMEA, described the findings of confirmation of the strategic role played by the printed and written word in today’s dynamic SMB environment.

“Despite the increasing ubiquity of digital content, ‘classic’ tools such as the written or printed word are, in fact, just as important for planning and making decisions in the SMB workplace.”
“According to the research, it is the most flexible SMB decision makers – in terms of time and place – who use paper, pen and printed materials the most. This so-called ‘Generation Y’ is actually more reliant on classic decision making tools than other age groups. These decision makers are using paper rather than laptops or mobile devices to plan and formulate decisions outside of the office,” she adds.

“As the world’s largest supplier of IT equipment and services to the SMB community, this research provides important insights into our understanding of their working patterns and specific requirements. Our commitment to SMBs ensures that products and services are developed for the sector’s specific requirements and working environments,” concludes Mrs Fish.

According to global market intelligence firm IDC, HP is the market leader in provision of professional printing products for the SMB market. Based on the latest data , in the third quarter of 2008 HP secured a unit market share of 45.8% in that segment, up 1.3% on the preceding quarter.

(1) The research was conducted by email questionnaire amongst 1,439 employees of SMBs (under 1,000 employees) in the UK, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Russia and Germany. Research was carried out by ToLuna between 8 and 16 January 2009.
(2) Source: IDC Hardcopy Peripherals Tracker, January 2009.

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