Three quarters of mid-market businesses embrace AI

15 August 2023 3 min. read

Global middle market companies, considered a major engine of growth in leading economies, have increased their investments in or usage of artificial intelligence (AI) in the past four years.

Among a cross section of mid-tier companies in various markets, 77% have said that they increased AI use and spending with a mere 4% saying they did not expect AI to grow or play a role in their business in the short term.

That is according to new research from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), conducted on behalf of global advisory network Moore, which surveyed nearly 2,000 business leaders in 12 major economies.

Three quarters of mid-market businesses embrace AI

The survey found that Brazil had the highest rate of AI adoption with 92% of decision makers increasing investment and/or use of AI in the past four years. The lowest AI engagement was found in Hong Kong at 58% – though that is still a majority of companies betting on the technology.

As far as industries, IT companies have the highest rate of adoption, unsurprisingly. Accounting and finance were also seen to be seriously interested in AI, with firms in this sector having much to gain from automation that can cut time-consuming tasks and machine learning that can make future projections.

Middle range accounting firms were found to have spent an average of $1.6 million on AI over the past year. Only 2% of accounting and finance firms said that they saw no role at all for AI in their businesses in the coming three years, a stark contrast with law and professional services firms, where 7% of respondents see no need for the technology.

Three quarters of mid-market businesses embrace AI

The AI market is expected to explode in size from $100 billion in 2021 to a remarkable $2 trillion by 2030, according to the Cebr and Moore study. A separate report projects that AI, adopted across different industries and applied in a wide array of different use cases, could add up to $4.4 trillion annually to the global economy overall.

“The majority of ambitious, mid-sized businesses across the world see artificial intelligence, or AI, as a growth opportunity despite the ongoing debate about the technology’s impact on humanity,” reads the Cebr and Moore report.

While the potential benefits of adopting AI technology are clear to see for many industries, there is also risk involved in a half-baked AI takeover pushed forward haphazardly. Companies will have to contend with new regulations that are forthcoming. For example, the European Commission is moving forward with some of the first AI regulations seen anywhere in the world. The so-called ‘AI Act’, initially introduced in 2021, could be implemented within a few years.

Across the pond in the US, a number of prominent AI experts and business leaders have also sounded the alarm in the media and in a series of congressional and senate hearings.