A significant percentage of small businesses in the U.S. say they are leaning in on artificial intelligence, but there are enormous divides over their reception to the technology’s benefits depending on a company’s size and the age of its owners, according to new data.
American Express released its first Small Business Financial Confidence Report last week, which found that 41% of small business owners said they are currently prioritizing AI in assisting with business decisions, and suggested the findings show small businesses are “AI-curious.”
Nearly 39% of respondents who utilize AI said they use the tools help save them time, 21% said they improve data security, and 20% credited AI with boosting the efficiency of their customer service.
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Among all businesses that use AI, the two primary uses for the tools were for customer service and marketing, at 19% and 14%, respectively.
But there are major gaps in small business owners’ reception to AI’s potential benefits when broken down by age groups and number of workers.
Only 16% of small business owners with fewer than 10 employees said they see the benefits of AI, but that percentage nearly quadrupled to 75% among owners of small businesses with the highest number of employees (101-500).
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There was a clear generational divide over embracing AI, too.
Some 56% of Gen-Z and Millennial small business owners reported they were prioritizing AI regardless of the number of employees, while older generations were less than half as likely to answer they were prioritizing the tools, at 24%.
“Gen-Z and Millennial small businesses will naturally gravitate toward AI as they have been raised with technology and their willingness to adopt new platforms is second nature to them,” said Amy Porterfield, an online marketing and business expert who owns AmyPorterfield.com.
“I am hoping this data spurs older generation businesses owners to also adopt this new technology now, as this will allow them to stay competitive and relevant,” she added. “I hope the data ignites even more interest and curiosity.”
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