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Updated Apr 10, 2024

Small Business Statistics: The Most Interesting Data of 2024

These must-know statistics are eye-openers for business owners

Mike Berner
Mike Berner, Senior Analyst & Expert on Business Operations
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Table of Contents

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Keeping on top of the latest trends can help small business owners make informed decisions, increase productivity, understand their customers and grow sustainably. This compilation of business statistics provides an overview of the state of small business in 2024.

Entrepreneurship

The entrepreneurial landscape is becoming more diverse

Approximately 42% of entrepreneurs are women and the average entrepreneur is 44 years old. Sixty-seven percent of entrepreneurs are white, followed by Hispanic/Latino (15%), Asian (6%) and Black/African American (6%).[1]

Small businesses employ 54% of workers in rural counties

Small businesses play a big role in the rural parts of the United States. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), they comprise 85% of establishments and employ 54% of workers in rural counties. However, their share of total employment is down from 57% in 2012.

21% of small business owners started a new independent business

Data shows that 44% of small business owners bought an existing franchise or independent business. Additionally, 21% started their own independent business and 35% started a new franchise.[2]

Finance

Humans still commit 4 out of 10 financial reporting errors

Human error still accounts for 41% of financial reporting mistakes, making it the single biggest cause of accounting errors.[3] The best accounting software can reduce the frequency of these preventable errors dramatically.

Collections agencies can recover about 11 cents on the dollar

On average, collections agencies recover about 11% of the face value of the debt.[4] However, top collection agency services can sometimes recover significantly more.

Credit cards now make up 81% of U.S. consumer purchases

As of 2022, cash accounted for just 19% of all U.S. consumer purchases, down 8 percentage points from 2016.[5] This means that implementing a highly rated credit card processing solution is essential for small businesses.

Employees are less likely to quit if you offer them retirement benefits

Offering a top employee retirement plan can help retain workers. According to Gusto, employees are 40% less likely to leave a job that provides retirement benefits.[6]

Invoice factoring is a way for small businesses to get money fast

The best invoice factoring companies typically advance up to 80% of the invoice value.[7] Be sure to ask the provider about any additional fees and interest rates.

The average small business pays 19.8% in taxes, but many fall behind

The SBA estimates that U.S. small businesses pay an average tax rate of 19.8%.[8] Unfortunately, some small businesses fall behind on their tax liabilities, which is where the best tax debt relief services can come in handy.

Nearly half of U.S. workers are employed by small businesses

Small businesses employ approximately 47% of private sector workers in the U.S.[9] To manage this workforce and keep up with ever-changing regulations, top-rated small business payroll software has become increasingly essential for business owners.

Alternative lenders approve significantly more loan applications than traditional funding sources

Alternative lenders boast approval rates of 71% for small business loan applications, compared to 58% for traditional banks.[10] When reviewing options from the best small business loans, make sure to scrutinize the interest rate and keep an eye out for hidden fees.

Payments

iPad-based POS systems save restaurants big money

A traditional point-of-sale (POS) system can cost over $5,000 to set up for a restaurant.[11] Meanwhile, the best iPad-based restaurant POS software costs a mere fraction of that.

iPhone card readers can be found for under $100 (and often for free)

A full slate of POS hardware can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. Meanwhile, the best iPhone card readers can turn your smartphone into a POS system for less than $100.

The vast majority of U.S. consumers have access to a credit card

A report by the Federal Reserve recently found that 80% of U.S. adults hold a credit card.[12] Signing up with a top merchant account service is a key step for accepting credit cards as payment at your business.

Payment hardware can cost up to $1,700

A complete suite of payment hardware can cost businesses anywhere from $750 to $1,700.[13] One alternative is a high-quality mobile credit card processor, which can turn your smartphone into a POS system at a fraction of the cost.

Half of businesses are looking to replace their POS system

A survey found that over 50% of business executives want to replace their POS system.[14] Today’s best POS solutions provide a wide range of functions for managing everything from employees to inventory.

1 in 5 purchases are now made online

E-commerce accounts for nearly 19% of retail sales worldwide.[15] Small business owners can leverage highly rated e-commerce platforms and shopping cart software to reach this massive consumer base.

Human Resources

50% of small business HR professionals use cloud-based software to manage HR functions

Roughly half of human resources (HR) professionals use top HR software to manage HR functions.[16] Management software is most commonly used for reporting and analytics (71%), payroll and accounting (68%) and employee benefits and time off (59%).

Over one-third of companies don’t have the resources to find employees

Employee recruitment is a top priority for 46% of HR professionals, but 36% say they don’t have the resources needed to find the right talent. As a solution, some are turning to HR software to automate the process. Of those who have implemented HR management tools, 21% say they have led to higher-quality candidates.

Reporting and dashboards are the most popular HR tools

According to HR pros, the most important HR software features are reporting and dashboards (50%), followed closely by user, role and access management (48%) and user support (39%).

Outsourcing HR functions is often less expensive than hiring HR staff

Handing off your HR functions to a top-rated HR outsourcing service might seem like a costly business expense, but it can save you money in the long run. Hiring a full-time in-house HR staff can cost businesses 50% more than outsourcing their HR functions.[17]

A professional employer organization can help you reduce turnover rates

Hiring and retaining top talent has become a major feat for many small businesses. One solution is to partner with one of the best professional employer organizations (PEOs). Small businesses that partner with a PEO have a 10%-14% lower turnover rate than those that don’t.

The majority of businesses now monitor their employees

The shift to remote and hybrid work in recent years has created a major need for high-quality employee monitoring software, especially for larger organizations. More than two-thirds of businesses with at least 500 employees now monitor their employees in some way or another.[18]

Security and productivity are biggest reasons why companies monitor employees

Two of the biggest reasons for using employee monitoring software are to maintain company security and track employee productivity. Of the organizations that implemented monitoring software on remote devices since the pandemic, 84% did it for security threat protection and 70% did it for employee productivity.[19]

Three-quarters of U.S. businesses experience T&A fraud

Seventy-five percent of U.S. businesses are losing money due to time theft — more specifically, buddy punching. This is when employees clock in and out for each other and it can equate to roughly 2.2% of your gross payroll.[20] You can prevent this by creating a time-theft policy and using the best time and attendance systems with geofencing and biometrics.

66% of companies that use background check services report better quality of new hires

Most companies conduct pre-employment background screenings to verify things like criminal history, Social Security numbers and employment history — and for good reason. Benefits reaped by companies who use top background check services include better quality of hires (66%), more consistent safety and security (52%) and improved regulatory compliance (44%).[21]

Most businesses use background check services to screen for drug use

Although the decriminalization of marijuana in several U.S. jurisdictions has caused many companies to stop employee drug testing, 61% of employers still use reputable background check services for drug and health screening.

When it comes to schedules, workers prefer advance notice

For shift workers, one of the most important scheduling aspects is having advance notice of their schedules (65%), followed by clear communication of available shifts (53%). However, these can be tough to regulate through manual scheduling, which is why many employers turn to highly rated employee scheduling software to streamline the communication process.

Insurance

Nearly half of businesses report experiencing a cyberattack

Cybercrime is on the rise, with 48% of all businesses reporting a cyberattack over the past year. As a result, the market for the best cybercrime business insurance is predicted to increase to more than $20 billion by 2025, up from $8 billion in 2020.[22]

The average data breach can cost millions of dollars

As data breaches become increasingly common, companies without top liability insurance protection can face dire financial consequences. In 2023 alone, the global average cost of a data breach was $4.45 million. This is up 15% since 2020.[23]

Health insurance comprises 11% of employee compensation

At 11%, great employee health insurance makes up the third-largest portion of employee compensation, following wages and salary (61.8%) and retirement and savings (13.2%). Other common forms of employee compensation include paid leave (7.3%), legally required benefits (5.4%), supplemental pay (1%), disability insurance (0.2%) and life insurance (0.1%).[24]

Technology

Over 255 billion apps were downloaded in 2022

The number of mobile app downloads worldwide has been steadily rising, going from approximately 141 billion downloads in 2016 to 255 billion in 2022. Companies can launch their own mobile apps by partnering with a top app maker.

Antivirus software detects 400,000 threats a day

Data shows that 400,000 new malicious files are detected each day by high-quality antivirus software like Kaspersky. The majority of these files attack Windows devices.[25]

The market for business printers is still growing

Not everything is digital these days. Case in point: Printing is still a billion-dollar industry and growing to the point where the sector for large-format printers is expected to hit a market size of more than $11 billion by 2028. Canon is one of the top makers of wide-format printers and is still adding to its product line.[26]

Younger people (surprisingly) prefer working on paper

In a recent survey, office workers aged 18-34 had a greater preference (38%) for working on paper than employees aged 35-69.[27] Among the reasons cited: Paper documents make it easier to focus and retain information.

30%-50% of GPS fleet tracking users see a positive ROI within a year

More than 30% of GPS fleet tracking users see a positive return on investment (ROI) within six months. Fifty-five percent using asset tracking see a positive ROI within a year.[28] The top GPS fleet management services are capable of monitoring drivers, vehicles and assets.

Computer hard drives last up to five years

Most hard drives only last three to five years.[29] The best hard drive recovery services can help businesses retrieve seemingly lost data when their computers go kaput. Some companies can even remove malware from your drives.

Nearly half of businesses plan to use remote PC access

As a result of the pandemic and the rise in remote work, 45% of survey respondents queried in 2022 said they planned to implement one of the best remote PC access software providers.

The average person tracks over 70 computer passwords

Highly rated single-sign-on solutions allow businesses to better manage access to their applications, which is critical when you consider the average person has 70-100 passwords to track.

Stolen passwords account for nearly half of system breaches

Forty-nine percent of hackers use stolen credentials to breach systems, underscoring the need for businesses to have a secure login system.

Migrating to the cloud is a frustration for most businesses

The majority of small businesses (80%) say managing their spend on cloud systems is their biggest cloud-related challenge. Other top concerns include security and compliance.

Google Drive is the most popular solution for personal cloud storage

Almost 95% of survey respondents say they rely on Google Drive for personal cloud storage.[30] Businesses, however, should look into the top enterprise solutions for cloud storage and online backup to ensure they get the security and scalability their companies need.

Retailers account for nearly a quarter of CRM software customers

Customer relationship management (CRM) systems are most commonly used in retail businesses (23.5 percent), fueled in part by the rise in online shopping and mobile app usage. Salesforce, one of the best CRM software providers, holds the largest share of the CRM market.

Half of businesses still rely on paper records

Highly rated document management systems make it easy to digitize, store, retrieve and share company documents as needed. Yet nearly half of small and medium-sized businesses surveyed say they still rely on paper records.[31]

On average, it costs over $30 to get a physical document signed

It can cost businesses upward of $30 every time they need to prepare and send a paper document to be signed, whereas document management software makes obtaining e-signatures a breeze.[32]

Help desk software increases business productivity

Ninety-one percent of survey participants say help desk software increases their productivity. Freshdesk is one of the best help desk software solutions available, but rival Zoho Desk leads the market with a share of 30.69%.[33]

60% of people prefer interacting with a human customer service rep

Though highly rated live chat software can improve the customer experience, almost 40% of people worldwide would rather interact with a chatbot than a virtual agent.[34] The global satisfaction rate among live chat users peaked in 2020, when roughly 86% of customers said they were satisfied with the experience.

Most businesses rely on a single cloud services provider

Eighty-six percent of organizations are transferring data and applications to the cloud regularly from on-premises setups. Most rely on a single cloud services provider. Bluehost, one of the best web hosting providers, hosts more than 2 million websites and is a popular choice for WordPress sites.

Only 70% of small businesses have a website, even though most customers will search for it

Nearly 30% of small businesses don’t have a website,[35] even though it’s easy to use a high-quality website builder or design service to create a web presence for your brand. More than 75% of consumers seek out a business’s website before going to their brick-and-mortar location.[36]

Communications

Over two-thirds of call center employees work from home

Only 34% of contact centers allowed agents to work from home in 2018. By 2023, that number rose to 69%.[37]

Over half of call center services practice ‘right channeling’

The best call center services let users guide customers to the best communication channels for their needs. Known as “right-channeling,” 55% of contact centers practice this strategy. Highly rated answering services are also capable of omnichannel communication.

Most people prefer cameras on when using video conferencing software

Fifty-eight percent of people say they prefer to have cameras on during video conferences, though Gen Z generally prefers to have cameras off. When on, 55% of Zoom users show their real background as opposed to a blurred or virtual one. Surprising conference locations include in cars, in beds and while jogging.[38]

Bad audio is the number one complaint about virtual meetings

More than 50% of people say audio issues are their biggest pain point when it comes to virtual meetings.[39] The best conference call services allow both audio-only chats and video meetings, with some platforms even providing post-meeting notes and transcriptions.

The phone is still the most important mode of communication (by far)

More than 90% of businesses say the phone is still one of their main communication tools.[40] The best business phone systems, however, are capable of more than just traditional calls. Many offer omnichannel communication facilitating text messaging, video chats, social media exchanges, email and more.

The online fax market is still growing

The online fax market is expected to grow from a value of $3.2 million in 2019 to $8.3 million in 2027,[41] showing demand for high-quality online fax services is still high despite innovations in other forms of communication technology.

Many businesses only have access to a few ISPs in their area

There are more than 1,300 internet service providers (ISPs) in the U.S.,[42] although companies can likely only find the top business internet for their organizations from a handful of vendors depending on their location.

Marketing

Internet users conduct 8.5 billion searches on Google per day

HubSpot, which is one of the best internet marketing and pay-per-click (PPC) management platforms, estimates internet users conduct 8.5 billion searches per day via Google. Following the search engine’s 2023 algorithm updates, 48% of SEO professionals surveyed said their web traffic increased.

Direct mail carries one of the best ROIs

Despite the proliferation of social media and the popularity of email marketing, two-thirds of enterprise marketers say they get a better return on investment with direct mail. More than half of marketers use software products to facilitate their direct mail campaigns. VistaPrint is a great example of a leading direct mailing service that provides online templates and tools for businesses to design, print and mail their marketing materials easily.[43]

Email marketing open rates can exceed 34%, depending on the service provider

Constant Contact, one of the best email marketing services, boasts an average open rate of 34.51% for emails sent using its platform.

List brokers remain extremely active in North America

North America was the biggest market for direct mail in 2022.[44] U.S. businesses can use top-rated list brokers to ensure they get accurate demographic information before compiling their mailing lists.

Approximately 75% of consumers have signed up for text messages from businesses

Nearly three-quarters of consumers have signed up to receive text messages from businesses and more than half want the ability to have a back-and-forth conversation.[45] Leading text messaging marketing services help companies stay on top of their subscriber lists and host two-way messaging with customers.

98% of consumers read online reviews

Consumers trust online reviews and 98% will seek out the opinions of fellow customers before making a decision. That’s why working with a top online reputation management service is crucial in the internet age.

Medical

4 in 5 medical bills contain errors

Eighty percent of medical bills arrive with inaccuracies.[46] However, implementing the best medical billing software can help cut down on the frequency of mistakes.

A quarter of medical patients now use telehealth services

Twenty-five percent of patients used telehealth in 2022, compared to just 5% before the global pandemic.[47] Top telemedicine software choices include GlobalMed, swyMed, CareClix and Mend.

  1. Zippia
  2. Guidant Financial
  3. Blackline
  4. Kaulkin Ginsberg
  5. Gusto
  6. Fundbox
  7. SBA
  8. SBE Council
  9. Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond
  10. BigCommerce
  11. Federal Reserve Bank
  12. Wix
  13. Salesforce
  14. Statista
  15. business.com
  16. Asure
  17. Wall Street Journal/International Data Corp.
  18. VMWare
  19. Hubstaff
  20. Benchmark
  21. Hiscox
  22. IBM
  23. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  24. Kaspersky
  25. Mordor Intelligence
  26. Two Sides
  27. Verizon
  28. The Guardian
  29. Good Firms
  30. Act
  31. Sign Now
  32. Datanyze
  33. Insider Intelligence
  34. Top Design Firms
  35. Visual Objects
  36. Deloitte
  37. Zoom
  38. Dialpad
  39. Ring Central
  40. Verified Market Research
  41. IBIS World
  42. Lob
  43. The Business Research Company
  44. Simple Texting
  45. Becker Hospital Review
  46. AMA
Mike Berner
Mike Berner, Senior Analyst & Expert on Business Operations
Mike Berner brings to business.com over half a decade of experience as a finance expert, having previously served as an economic analyst for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. His expertise lies in conducting quantitative analysis and research, providing invaluable guidance for navigating the modern financial landscape. Berner, who has a bachelor's degree in economics and a bachelor of business administration in finance, enjoys simplifying complicated financial concepts for entrepreneurs and business owners. From deciphering the intricacies of business loans and accounting to identifying the best payroll systems and credit card processors, he offers comprehensive insights tailored to meet diverse business needs. Beyond dedicating himself to exploring and evaluating the latest financial solutions, Berner has also become adept at explaining how businesses can take advantage of artificial intelligence tools. His passion for sharing knowledge extends to various platforms, including Substack, TikTok and YouTube, where he imparts tips and strategies on topics like sales tactics, savvy investing and tax saving.
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