Verizon Annual State of Small Business Survey finds small businesses want AI in challenging economy

Forty-five percent of small business are looking at AI solutions to enable more time to be spent on core business operations

This year, more small and midsize businesses are expecting an uptick during the holiday season — 63% compared to 56% last year

Free 5G Phone when you switch, with no trade-in required, during this year’s Small Business Days (October 16-22)

NEW YORK, Oct. 12, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Verizon Business today announced the findings of its fourth annual State of Small Business Survey, conducted by Morning Consult. The survey data, comprising responses from 681 small and midsize businesses across the country, demonstrates that small businesses have a constant need to increase connectivity to meet business demands and are exploring the applications of emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), but as their technology dependence grows, looming concerns regarding cybersecurity persist.

“The fact that nearly half of small and midsize businesses are either using or are aware of the AI-specific use cases that can drive their companies forward highlights what we hear from our customers every day regarding their desire to stay ahead of the pace of change to drive their business forward,” said Aparna Khurjekar, Chief Revenue Officer, Business Markets and SaaS, at Verizon Business. “For businesses looking to learn more about what emerging technologies can do for them, our upcoming Small Business Days is a fantastic opportunity to meet with one of our experts and through a complimentary tech check to understand what possibilities exist.”

Key findings:

  • Using AI to address labor challenges and more. More than a third of small and midsize businesses (35%) believe AI can help offset pain points caused by labor shortages. Additionally, to enable small business owners to spend more time on their core business and with customers, 46% would find value or are using AI to drive order processing, and the same amount also see AI being utilized in inventory management and supply chain operations.
  • Concerns about AI. Though more and more small and midsize businesses are exploring AI solutions, many are still leery of its implementation. Nearly half (45%) are concerned about integrating AI solutions, and 43% are worried AI tools will expose them to cybersecurity risks.
  • Upgrading internet bandwidth. In 2020, more than a quarter (27%) of small and midsize companies upgraded their internet connection bandwidth. The economic shutdown drove much of that, as businesses had no choice but to operate digitally in order to reach customers. But even after the economy reopened, businesses continue to upgrade their bandwidth: 52% in 2021, 51% in 2022 and 53% in 2023. This continued desire for increased bandwidth highlights the growing digital dependency for businesses of all sizes.
  • Cybersecurity lags behind digitalization. A good portion of small and midsize businesses are failing to invest in cybersecurity proportionately to their investment in internet bandwidth and other technology upgrades. Only one in three have implemented new systems of technology to ensure security, and almost half (45%) do not offer their employees any training on cybersecurity practices.
  • Inflation remains a top concern. Eighty-one percent of respondents are concerned about the impact inflation will have on their business. Four out of five business owners have experienced increased costs in the last year. Additionally, 59% have either raised or planned to raise the prices of goods and services and a similar number (57%) have either reduced or plan to reduce their spending on non-essential items and activities. In spite of these concerns, most business owners (63%) are expecting an increase in demand this holiday season.

Verizon Small Business Days (October 16-22)
Small Business Days are back taking place October 16-22, providing businesses with special discounts, a free “tech check,” and business advice. Verizon Small Business Experts will be available to evaluate business owners’ specific technology needs and tailor a solution to those needs, ranging from communications and connectivity to security. Offers available this week include a free select 5G Phone when you switch to Verizon with a new line and a select data plan, no trade-in required, and, for wireless internet, save $100/mo when you switch to LTE Business Internet 50 Mbps plan, or switch to 5G Business Internet 200 Mbps self-set up plan for $69/month (a savings of $30/mo for 24 months).

Verizon Small Business Digital Ready
Verizon Small Business Digital Ready is a free online platform that provides small businesses with free, personalized access to learning, including more than 40 courses, mentorship opportunities with industry experts, peer networking events, one-to-one expert coaching and more. Verizon Small Business Digital Ready portal was created with and for small businesses, with a specific focus on under-resourced business owners. This initiative is part of Verizon’s goal to support 1,000,0000 small businesses by 2023 with the resources to thrive in the digital economy as part of its responsible business plan, Citizen Verizon.

To view the complete survey findings, visit

For more information on Verizon’s Small Business Solutions, visit

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Media Contact:
Sarah Heinz

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