Global retail sales could reach USD 23 trillion by 2025, with online retail sales at USD 4.3 trillion – nearly 20 per cent of the global total – according to a report by Frost & Sullivan released today in the build-up to GITEX Technology Week 2015.
In the Middle East, 2016 will be the “springboard” year for widespread regional adoption of next generation, Internet of Things-era retail technology. Four of the most prominent technology initiatives set to change Middle East retail over the next five years are virtual stores that enable customers to shop from the convenience of their homes; augmented reality shopping for customers to virtually try on clothes, share on social media, and see add-on purchases; smart shelves that can determine product placement, promotions, or sales; and robotic assistants, according to Frost & Sullivan.
As the Internet of Things gains pace, connecting retailers, products and shipments, mobile devices, and customers is impacting how retailers automate merchandise, personalise marketing, and enhance a streamlined customer experience.
“Shoppers across the Middle East are among the world’s most connected, influential and tech-savvy purchasers. Regional retailers are increasingly under pressure to captivate customers and drive sales, and Internet of Things-related technology solutions will be integral in converging brick and mortar and online stores,” said Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President, Exhibitions & Events Management, Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).
The latest research and evidence suggests the remainder of 2015 and 2016 will be a springboard period as regional retailers adopt various disruptive technologies poised to transform the traditional retail industry and consumer experience. Via the new GTX Communities, GITEX Technology Week 2015 will assist professionals in various industry verticals to connect these dots and develop strategies to fully digitise their businesses in the coming years.
Demonstrating the regional potential for online and mobile retail innovation, Middle East countries have among the world’s highest Internet and smartphone penetration rates. The UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia all rank in the top 25 per cent of countries in the World Economic Forum’s Networked Readiness Index 2015.
Key GITEX Technology Week 2015 exhibitors will include Samsung, which recently launched a Business division for Internet of Things adoption; Toshiba, which recently introduced a robotic greeter; and leading digital marketing technology provider Silverpop is the principal sponsor. Digital Middle East retailers such as Alshop.com and Souqalmal.com, along with the UK-based SHOPA, will present best practices at the GTX TechVerticals Retail conference.