Retail set to spend more on AI than any industry this year

Retail is set to lead the way in developing artificial intelligence this year, spending more than any other industry on projects involving the technology.

According to the International Data Corporation’s (IDC) latest Artificial Intelligence Systems Spending Guide, the global retail industry is set to spend $5.9 billion (£4.45 billion) this year on AI systems.

Global spend across all industries is due to hit $35.8 billion (£27 billion) this year, marking a year-on-year increase of 44 per cent.

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Automated customer service agents are set to see the most investment with a global spend of $4.5 billion (£3.39 billion), followed by sales process recommendation and automation with $2.7 billion (£2.04 billion).

The US will reportedly deliver nearly two thirds of all spending this year, led by both the retail and banking industries, closely followed by Western Europe.

“AI is the game changer in a highly competitive environment, especially across customer-facing industries such as retail and finance, where AI has the power to push customer experience to the next level with virtual assistants, product recommendations, or visual searches,” IDC research analyst Andrea Minonne said.

“Many European retailers such as Sephora, ASOS, and Zara or banks such as NatWest and HSBC are already experiencing the benefits of AI, including increased store visits, higher revenues, reduced costs, and more pleasant and personalized customer journeys.”

Global spending on AI is expected to nearly double by 2022 to $79.2 billion (£59.72 billion), with a compound annual growth rate of 38 per cent between 2018 and 2022.

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