Retail technology investment in Australia is projected to record a CAGR of 28.8% from 2016-2021 largely driven by evolving consumer requirements and intensifying retail competition from international entrants and new business models. These factors are set to raise standards across both the front and back ends of retail technology. Current investments mostly involve forward-thinking retailers looking to capitalise on technologies such as BDA, cloud computing, and AI. Spending is expected to reach 4.58 billion by 2021 Retail technology innovation and implementation in Australia lags behind that of other developed countries. While investments in retail technology in Australia are significantly lower than the United States, spending is likely to increase, particularly in the areas of digital signage, point-of-sale systems, big data analytics (BDA), cloud computing, and artificial intelligence (AI). The change is being driven by multiple factors, including the entrance of international participants such as Amazon, and evolving consumer spending behaviour. The online retail space continues to gain popularity, accounting for A$21.65 billion in revenue in 2016 with 10.4% year-over-year (y-o-y) growth. The proliferation of mobile and tablet devices in Australia as well as software development to complement online transactions are key drivers. While most consumers continue to make purchases at physical stores, the online channel allows them to instantly cross-check products and prices among multiple retailers. Existing investments in legacy systems are likely to be the biggest hurdle to retail technology adoption. Apart from compatibility issues, the systems are less agile and responsive compared to cloud-based competitors. The retail industry could see extensive testing of retail technology in the next 12-18 months, demonstrating the value proposition and retail application of these technologies. Led by larger retailers, the industry is heading towards omnichannel adoption to better interact with digitally-empowered customers in a seamless and personalised manner. In the next 5-7 years, Frost & Sullivan predicts the emergence of start-ups in the areas of robotics, AI, and AR, providing valuable tailored solutions for the retail sector. Amazon’s entrance is set to have a massive impact on retailers in the market, prompting them to rethink their retail strategy. It is imperative for retailers to become less conservative and continually adapt to remain relevant in Australia’s future retail landscape. Long-established retail players are under increasing pressure from more technologically-integrated competitors to improve their customer offerings and not lose out on market share. New entrants to the market, supported by cloud-based CRM and mPOS systems, are gaining increasing acceptance from domestic consumers. Large retailers are reviewing their legacy systems to integrate retail technology and provide more value to customers.
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