Ever wonder who’s buying software at the business level? Businesses with fewer than 50 employees and US$ 2 million in revenue are buying a majority of the software, that's who. 

Who Buys What

Capterra collected some interesting data points on how software buyers filtered their software search results in 2011. What it found sheds some light on the popularity (and utility) of web-based software. Here are a few highlights:

  • 74% of software buyers were from companies with fewer than 50 employees. 6% were from companies with 1,000 or more employees.
  • 75% of software buyers were from companies with less than US $2 million in annual revenue. 3% were from companies with a billion or more in annual revenue.
  • Companies with one employee chose web-based just 18% of the time. That grows to 26% for 2-9 employees, 29% for 10-49 employees, 31% for 50-99 employees, 35% for 100-999 employees and 39% for 1,000 or more employees.
  • If the number of software users is just one, then Windows is the choice 65% of the time, with web-based coming in second at 15% and Mac third at 13%. When 2-9 users are involved, Windows and Mac interest decline to 56% and 8% respectively, while web-based interest grows to 28%. At 10 or more users, web-based interest grows to 35-40% interest.

What It Means

Capterra suggests that these trends indicate that small business, in particular, are investing in the cloud, because of its ability to cut storage costs and improve security. For small businesses, web-based software makes sense. Furthermore, it also exposes the engine of our economy. Small businesses continue to have a large impact on industry in general, and the software market, especially. While companies such as IBM are building solutions for the enterprise, Mac and Windows are powering smaller businesses, who may not need the latest innovation -- yet.

For all our talk about the enterprise, Capterra’s survey reminds us that SMBs need love, too. While larger business may be wary of the cloud and third-party apps, many small business thrive on them. For software vendors that make a living pandering to the larger companies, scalability may be key to continued success across industries and all sizes of business.