The past 2 years have been difficult for the retail sector. Yet, CBI research shows that the market has never looked any better for retail technology. Customer behaviour has changed dramatically, and retail technology is often both the cause and the solution.
What is changing the sector?
The pandemic has sped up most of the changes in the retail sector in the last 10 years.
Some examples are:
- The move from in-store shopping to online;
- The increase in self-checkout options and frictionless checkout;
- Faster home deliveries;
- The use of robotics; and
- Virtual fitting rooms and other immersive experiences.
COVID-19 has sped up the adoption of these technologies. During the pandemic, retail companies started investing more in retail technology. And at the same time, consumers started using it more. In this market, the growth is from both sides.
Growth in-store and online
The use of retail technology is growing in in-store shops and online shops. One of the fastest-growing retail technology segments in-store is the self-checkout. In a survey, 72% of consumers said that accelerated checkout is their favourite retail invention.
Physical stores and online shops also use robotics. It replaces human activities such as cleaning, moving and tracking goods. The robotics industry for retail technology is expected to grow almost 18.5% from 2023 to 2030 and reach a value of nearly €192 billion.
Augmented reality is another retail tech segment with a lot of growth. In 2019, global consulting firm Gartner predicted that by 2020, more than 100 million consumers would be using augmented reality to improve their shopping experience. Due to the pandemic, the number of consumers using augmented reality has greatly surpassed this prediction. With the pandemic, the demand for virtual fitting room systems increased. This system imitates the try before you buy approach and allows customers to interact with products virtually.
Become an added value partner
There are great opportunities for retail technology providers that want to collaborate with retailers. European buyers are looking for valuable partners with an end-customer-focused approach at each stage of the development cycle. For service providers from developing countries, the most realistic way to enter the market is as a subcontractor for a European service provider.