Global retail technology spending is set to reach $200 billion this year as physical retailers scramble to compete with their online counterparts.
According to new research from Tech, technology spend in the retail sector is set to jump 3.6 per cent this year.
A third of UK retailers are expecting to invest six-figure sums in technology over the next 18 months, with many citing visual search tools as a priority.
Forty-five per cent of UK retailers say they are using visual search already including leading retailers like Argos, Ebay, M&S, Boohoo and Asos.
Meanwhile US retailers have cited payment technology as their key priority, with around 40 per cent of them already integrating AI into their operations.
In mainland Europe AI is also high on the agenda, with 60 per cent of retailers in Germany investing in voice technology, and around half of French retailers stating they are focusing on robotics.
Frances largest retailer Carrefour has recently partnered with Google to build a tech-led strategy for its retail operations, creating a Carrefour-Google innovation lab.
“New technologies have unlocked a level of potential that would have been unimaginable just a generation ago,” Tech’s event director Poppie Mickleburgh said.
“All regions agree that there is a need for digital transformation and that a change in leadership mind-set is required to do this. However, how they go about tackling this, and which technologies they prioritise, differ – which is fascinating, and offers a chance for international peers to learn from each other.”