Retailers Ready To Spend On Expansion, Technology And Branding

Retailers are prepared to invest capital to leverage current, moderate industry growth, according to the 2013 Retail Outlook Survey by KPMG LLP. Despite the three factors reported as most detrimental to industry growth — fluctuating consumer confidence, high unemployment rates and expanding regulations ― 85% of respondents expected capital spending to increase or remain the same this year.

The KPMG survey was conducted during February and March 2013, and reflects the views of 101 senior retail executives in the U.S. Results indicate that retailers are ready to spend primarily on geographic expansion (61%), information technology (40 %) and advertising and marketing/branding (24%).

Technology is expected to have the most significant impact on the industry, the report noted. In fact, the opportunity for technology to drive retail transformation was a key theme revealed in survey results.


Social media was flagged as the most significant technology trend impacting retail businesses: As many as 71% of executives ― up from 58% last year ― said their companies are using social media to reach more customers and explore new ways of doing business. Mobile and online shopping (52%), and mobile and online promotions and coupons (51%) also were reported as technology trends most impacting retail organizations.

“Technology is paramount to driving growth and enhancing customer engagement for retailers,” said Mark Larson, Global Retail Leader for KPMG. Investing in technology also is key to harnessing “the vast amounts of structured data that reside in a company as well as the unstructured data online and in social media. That data can drive the insights that will allow retailers to interact with consumers more effectively and capture more ‘wallet-share,’ as well as identify new markets, new strategies and new operating models to generate growth and profitability.”

In parallel, the study found that 72% of respondents were using data analytics for providing customer insight, 67% for brand and product management, and 56% for pricing decisions.

Another 68% of respondents indicated they had adopted, or plan to adopt, cloud technologies into their business strategies and operations. In addition, 37% (up from 11% in 2012) said the cloud will provide greater transparency on transactions, and 31% (up from 14% in 2012) said cloud computing will reduce costs.

Despite retail executives’ positive outlooks, more than half (58%) identified decreased consumer confidence as the primary factor hindering their growth, followed by high national unemployment rates (45%) and increased government regulation (30%, up from 16% in 2012.) 

For a complete copy of the report, click here.

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