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How Retail Is Changing: Key Data-Driven Marketing Statistics

  • Jed Mole

    Jed Mole

Created at February 18th, 2019

How Retail Is Changing: Key Data-Driven Marketing Statistics

As buying expectations, habits and technologies evolve, retail marketers today know that change and disruption are inescapable truths.

Far from being fearful of this shift in the retail landscape, retail marketers who look at change and disruption as opportunities to evolve and advance their offerings, will be those who reap the rewards. After all, retail is one of the strongest growing sectors globally, with sales expected to reach $27.2 trillion by 2020.

Creating a seamless retail customer experience – one that’s personalised to the individual across all channels, on and offline – is core if retailers are to remain relevant and succeed in a changing retail market. Although buying habits have evolved, people have not; we all expect meaningful engagements with brands who recognise us, however we interact.

And, with access to the right, unsiloed data, retail marketers can deliver just that; to create an accurate 360-degree view, and deliver exceptional omnichannel experiences in an ethical, intelligent and transparent way.

Key Statistics That Indicate A Changing Retail Environment

While the journey to improving the retail customer experience with data contains multiple challenges, understanding the current retail environment is the first step to success.

Below are key statistics that outline just how retail is changing – and what data-driven marketer’s next steps should be, to make the most of that change.

Retail growth is advancing

With the retail sector facing substantial growth, opportunities are clear for retail brands. Prioritising a data-driven approach to marketing to deliver a truly personalised, omnichannel experience that recognises consumers as individuals is required to succeed in a competitive, increasingly digital retail landscape.

  • The value of online sales has increased 15% over the last 10 years.
  • Online sales are expected to grow at an average of 11.9% per year during the 2017-2022 period in Western Europe, with 21% of non-grocery retail sales being online by 2022.
  • Estimated retail industry sales likely to reach $27.2 trillion globally by 2020 – up from $20.8 trillion in 2015.

Retail marketers increasingly prioritise data-driven marketing

The value of adopting a data-driven approach to retail marketing is increasingly being recognised. However, many marketers still face challenges in implementing data-driven strategies.

  • 58% of retail marketers rank improving customer retention strategies as a top priority.
  • 96% of retailers say data management is a priority for their marketing function in the next 12 months.
  • 58% of retail marketers rank improving customer retention strategies as their top priority for data-driven marketing.
  • 96% of UK and European retailers also say that data management is a priority for their marketing function this year.
  • However, top data marketing issues named by supermarkets, traditional retailers and online retailers in the UK include:
    • A lack of data skills/capability, organisational structure and data infrastructure
    • Difficulty capturing, processing and acting on the right data
    • Challenges bridging the data gaps between in-store and online

Now is the time to invest in new technologies

The advance of new technologies is creating substantial opportunities to understand and serve customers. Now is the time that organisations should prioritise new technology integration, ensuring not only their ability to build and drive data-informed experiences, but also to keep pace with competitors and stand out.

  • 85% of all transactions are expected to be AI by 2020.
  • Gartner estimated that by 2020, more than three-quarters of retail customer interactions will be handled by AI agents.
  • In a 2017 survey of UK retailers (by Retail Week and Qubit), 38% of respondents were already applying Artificial Intelligence to their business operations, and 48% were already using machine learning.
  • As the retail industry moves towards rapid digitisation, retailers are continually enhancing their marketing capabilities by adopting Beacon Technologies.
  • Statista estimate that the adoption rate of IoT in retail will be 52% by 2020 in the UK.

In the Changing Face of Retail, Consider Data to Succeed

In the face of change, a considered approach to data-driven retail marketing is a must. For retail marketers, this will involve:

  • Breaking down silos to enable centralised data and a complete, 360-degree view of customers, to recognise them as individuals and understand their buying behaviours.
  • Using data-informed insight to provide meaningful customer experiences across channels, based on an individual’s preferences.
  • Enabling not only seamless engagement, but seamless measurement and attribution across online and offline.
  • Always prioritising a transparent and ethical approach to data use.

Adapting to change is of course an ongoing challenge. But retailers who recognise, and take steps towards meeting expectation now, will be those who lead the way in an evolving space.

Learn more about improving customer experience with data here.


All statistics taken from an Acxiom Retail Industry Insight Report 2018.