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Ramp, a financial management platform, says that companies have been spending a lot more on AI apps. The firm analyzed spending data from thousands of companies and billions of transactions.

The analysis shows that the number of transactions for AI apps processed via Ramp increased by 293 percent in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the previous year. In contrast, total spending on software only increased by six percent in the same period, Ramp reports.

Ramp looked at companies from the 2024 Forbes AI 50 list as well as 339 other AI providers on the Ramp platform.

Larger companies increased spending on AI significantly more since Q4 2024 | Image: Ramp

Ramp says that companies that already use AI are the ones spending more. Over a third of Ramp's customers are now paying for at least one AI tool, up from 21 percent last year.

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On average, companies spent 1,500 US dollars on AI tools in the first quarter, which is a 138 percent increase compared to the previous year. This shows that companies see clear benefits in using AI and are doubling their investments, Ramp concludes.

However, the number of new customers investing in AI for the first time is stagnating. In the first quarter, the number of companies paying AI providers rose by only three percent—a sharp decline from the peak of 45 percent in the second quarter of 2023. Ramp thinks that many companies are first observing the impact of AI on customers and competitors before investing themselves.

Ramp's numbers indicate that non-technical industries are catching up in their use of AI. The healthcare and biotech sector saw the biggest jump in companies working with AI vendors, up 131%. The tech sector saw the smallest increase, up 45%. Ramp attributes this to the rise of industry-specific AI applications, like analyzing medical images or scientific publications.

Overall, the technology sector is leading the way in AI, but the finance and healthcare sectors have recently invested slightly more. | Picture: Ramp

It looks like the non-tech sectors are catching up with their tech-savvy competitors in terms of spending per company, too. Ramp says that AI spending per company in the financial services sector shot up 331% compared to last year. The consulting and services sector saw the biggest jump in spending, up 117% from the previous quarter. This was despite—or maybe because of—job cuts in the sector.

In addition to general AI development platforms like OpenAI, specialized AI tools for specific business functions like sales, marketing, or customer service are becoming more popular, according to Ramp. These "narrow" AI applications now account for four of the top ten vendors by customer count and spend, including Fireflies.ai, ElevenLabs, Instantly.ai, and Beautiful.ai.

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OpenAI is the top AI tool, but many smaller tools are also benefiting from the increasing investment in AI. | Image: Ramp

The Ramp analysis shows that AI tools are becoming more and more common in business. Of the companies that used AI providers for the first time a year ago, 56% are still customers. OpenAI is the most popular and has the highest customer retention and spending growth. On average, OpenAI customers increase their spending by about 25% per month in the first year.

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Summary
  • Ramp, a financial management platform, says that companies spent 293% more on AI apps in Q1 2024 than they did in Q1 2023. Meanwhile, overall software spending increased by only 6%.
  • On average, companies spent $1,500 on AI tools in Q1, which is 138% more than they spent in Q1 2023. However, the number of new customers investing in AI for the first time is staying the same.
  • Non-tech sectors like healthcare and biotech, as well as financial services, are catching up with tech sectors in terms of AI use and spending. In addition to general AI platforms, specialized AI tools for specific business functions are also becoming more popular.
Sources
Online journalist Matthias is the co-founder and publisher of THE DECODER. He believes that artificial intelligence will fundamentally change the relationship between humans and computers.
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