Six in 10 (60%) of all Australian businesses are already using, or planning to integrate, AI into their operations over the next two years, according to a new survey from Small Business Loans Australia.

The survey revealed one in four (25%) of Australian businesses have already embraced the tech trend and adopted AI tools throughout their day-to-day operations. Nine in 10 (90%) medium-sized businesses (51-200 employees) will be using AI by 2026. Specifically, the data shows over one-third (37%) have adopted AI, with an additional 53% planning to integrate it into their businesses by 2026.  

Mirco businesses (less than 10 employees) are the most likely to resist the evolving digital landscape, with just 18% saying they’re already using AI and an additional 23% planning to use it by 2026. 

The survey shows AI-powered reporting and chat boxes with email replies are the most embraced AI tools among SMEs. More than one-quarter (27%) of all SMEs use or plan to use AI-powered customer or data analysis tools. AI-powered reporting was the second most favoured tool with one-quarter (25%) either harnessing it or planning to over the next two years. Chat boxes and customer email replies rank third for all SMEs at 24%.

AI productivity tools are also favoured among SMEs, with 23% using it or preparing to integrate it into day-to-day operations. When it comes to genuine customer engagement – or even copy editing – Australian businesses are less likely to use AI, with only 15% saying they use or will use AI-powered copy generators and only one in 10 (11%) confessing they use or plan to use a customer relationship manager bot. 

The larger the business, the more likely they are to give creative work to the bots, with 20% of medium-sized businesses admitting to using or planning to use AI copy generators and editors and image generation, and almost one-third (27%) confessing to using AI for customer relationship management. A small percentage of micro businesses use data crunching or automated reply AI. 14% say they use or will use AI-powered customer or data analysis tools. 

Small Business Loans Australia founder and managing director, Alon Rajic said, “These figures paint a clear picture of where Australian businesses are leaning on AI. Across the board, time-consuming data analysis or automatic reply tools are favoured above all in this fast-growing tech realm. 

“When delving deeper into this trend, it’s easy to see that AI is being heartily embraced in areas where human error can be costly, and manpower can be time consuming. Australian businesses are increasingly seeing the value in utilising AI for those arduous, laborious and menial tasks that don’t require a human touch, creativity or finesse. This is a trend we’re seeing internationally too with a colossal rise of companies using financial reporting AI clocked over the past year.”