Global retail sector technology spending will grow 3.6% to reach almost $203.6 billion in 2019, with similar growth rates for the next two years, according to the latest forecast from Gartner, Inc. (www.gartner.com). Customer expectations and competition are forcing retailers to evolve and invest heavily in digital business transformation, per the research group.
Relative to other industries, retail has traditionally been a laggard in terms of appetite for change, digital maturity and hence technology spend, according to Gartner. However, this is no longer the case, and retail now surpasses most other industries with regard to IT spend.
Gartner says software is the fastest-growing category of technology spending as retail CIOs prioritize analytics, digital marketing, mobile applications, e-commerce platforms and artificial intelligence (AI) as the technologies most crucial to their organization’s mission.
“Retail CIOs used to be tasked with minimizing risk and cost,” says Molly Beams, senior director, analyst at Gartner. “Now they are held accountable for business results. They are prioritizing ROI and other measurable business impacts. Retail CIOs are investing in analytics for both near-term benefits like decision making and to prepare for innovations such as smart machines, AI and augmented reality — all of which will require robust datasets.”