Will mobile apps that are cheaper and easier to develop convince more small businesses to have them? Not necessarily, according to a new survey by Clutch (https://clutch.co), an app development research firm.

While nearly 50% of small businesses indicate they plan to have a mobile app within the next few years, over 30% still have no intention to do so. Industry experts, however, say that attitude will likely change as more small businesses watch the trend of mobile app adoption grow and are forced to have an app in order to stay competitive.

“Many small businesses don’t even consider building a mobile app, but this is changing fast, with more and more traffic coming from mobile devices,” says Viktor Marohnic, CEO of the mobile app creator Shoutem. “Three years ago, a small business might see 10% of its total traffic coming from mobile, but right now it’s closer to 70%. Within the next couple of years, a shift to a mobile app or a mobile-friendly site will become obvious.”

Twenty percent of small businesses currently have a mobile app and the majority of these businesses say they built an app to (1) increase sales, (2) improve customer experience, and (3) become competitive in a specific market. For small businesses, mobile apps provide new opportunities for customer engagement and overall accessibility, key components for success in a mobile-first market.

“Cutting down the time in which someone can make an order or a purchase is a key factor,” explains Zach Cusimano, the COO of the mobile app builder Bizness Apps. “Having that ability in their pocket is much easier than visiting a business or going on a desktop. If a business can convince someone to download their app, that person is essentially giving them a place in their pocket at all times. It’s an extremely valuable concept which has never been a part of business outside of the last three or four years.” 

Consumer-facing businesses such as restaurants, gyms, stores and professional services are the most likely adopters of the mobile app movement because of the potential benefits for customer interaction. In addition, internal business apps are gaining momentum as businesses look to streamline internal processes and increase productivity. Previously, building a single app could cost $40,000 or more, but with new app builder platforms, small businesses can begin to build a simple app from about $5 per month.

Clutch analysts gathered over 352 survey responses from small business owners and managers throughout the US. The majority of survey respondents are businesses with 1-10 employees and less than $1 million in annual revenue, a true representation of small businesses according to the US Census Bureau.