A new study by small business platform Xero shows that Singaporean small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are more likely to commit to tech adoption compared to some of their global peers.
The “One step” study by Xero in partnership with behavioural science consultancy Decision Design surveyed 4,200 small business owners across six countries - Australia, New Zealand, the UK, the US, Canada and Singapore.
The survey found that Singapore has the highest proportion of tech adopters at 36%, compared to the other surveyed countries which ranged between 18% to 21%. Nine in 10 small businesses in Singapore feel confident about embracing new technology, while eight in 10 are excited about implementing digital solutions.
“The findings from the 'One step' study demonstrate Singapore’s leadership position in technology adoption -- with SMEs identifying themselves as adopters at nearly twice the percentage we saw in those surveyed in Australia and New Zealand,” says Joseph Lyons, managing director, Xero Australia & Asia.
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The study’s findings also revealed that globally, small businesses that readily adopt new technology achieve an average 120% higher revenues and 106% higher productivity than those that do not. Further, employees or owners of businesses who advocate for technology are 27% more likely to wake up excited about work and 16% more likely to feel proud about their business activities.
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Psychological drivers of Singaporean business owners were also uncovered, in contrast to their global peers surveyed in the report. Of the six countries surveyed, Singaporean respondents are the most likely to have started a business for family reasons (6 in 10), but are the least likely to have done so to become their own boss (8 in 10, compared to 9 in 10 in other regions). They are also the most likely to agree with the statement that they ‘live to work’ (more than 5 in 10).
For Lyons, the Singapore government’s execution of its Smart Nation Singapore initiative has been a key driver in getting businesses to digitalise.
However, the study also highlights that 27% of Singaporean SMEs surveyed classified themselves as tech delayers. Some of the top behavioural challenges identified include uncertainty behind outcomes, being overwhelmed by the options available and believing making the switch would be too much of a hassle.
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“One step” offers several recommendations to policymakers, advisors and technology vendors on house to help small business by presenting technology adoption in a more straightforward, less daunting way.
These include encouraging smaller incremental changes to technology, celebrating small businesses that have benefited from technology adoption, and quantifying the gap between current operations and those enhance by technology.
In addition, measuring technology’s benefits in a way that is more relatable to SMEs and simplifying technology choices may also aid in incentivising small businesses to digitalise.