Zebra Technologies-IHL Group Study Reveals Retail Industry Sales to Grow Three Percent Annually Through 2021

Research indicates Zebra retail customers are growing faster than industry and investing more in technology to improve operations and enhance the shopping experience

Zebra Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: ZBRA), the market leader in rugged mobile computers, barcode scanners and barcode printers enhanced with software and services to enable real-time enterprise visibility, today revealed the results of its 2017 Retail Transformation Study, a body of research examining the current and future retail marketplace in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).  The study, conducted with IHL Group, a global research and advisory firm for the retail and hospitality industries, highlights the transformation of the retail sector as the model evolves to better serve consumers. IHL projects retail industry sales to rise three percent annually through 2021 led by a shift to greater ecommerce/omnichannel sales volume. Zebra’s customers are also investing more in technology and growing faster than the industry average.

“In North America alone, retail sales are set to rise to more than $5.5 trillion by 2021, so it’s critical retailers are equipped to meet customer expectations,” says Greg Buzek, Founder and President, IHL Group. “Consumers used to ‘Have to Shop’ and now they must need to ‘Want to Shop’ at stores.  Retailers that are focusing on the customer experience, investing in better training of associates and integrating IT systems across channels will be the ones that will continue to succeed.”

“Zebra’s Retail Transformation study confirms that the key growth drivers in retail are multi-channel retailing, in-store connected technology and connected store associates,” says Jeff Schmitz, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Zebra Technologies. “It is critical that retailers continue investing in the shopping experience and operational efficiencies. Understanding the retail transformation underway allows retailers to invest in the right technology now to meet the evolving demands and needs of their customers and ultimately earn more of their business.”

  • IHL projects the North American and EMEA retail markets to each grow approximately three percent over the next five years to $5.5 trillion and €4.4 trillion in sales respectively. Ecommerce is projected to eclipse $1.5 trillion by 2021.
  • 2017 saw more retail store openings than closures and store openings are expected to outpace closures through 2021.   IHL research estimates that the enterprise retail market (more than 50 stores) had 4,080 net stores opening through October 2017.   In fact, 42 percent of retailers had a net increase in stores while only 15 percent had a net decrease.
  • IHL projects technology spending among retailers to rise approximately three percent over the next three years as retailers continue to evolve their operations to support unified commerce and provide a modern, engaging customer experience for today’s savvy, empowered shoppers.
    • Mobility is a driver for most surveyed retailers who plan to invest in mobile barcode or thermal printers, handheld barcode scanners and mobile computerswithin the next three years.
  • Zebra’s customers are retail leaders and growing faster, prioritizing key technologies and spending more on information technology (IT) than the broader marketto make the shopping experience more convenient and drive operational productivity.
    • Retail leaders are investing two-to-three times more than the average retailer in IT transformation and associate training and tools.  They are also more focused on increasing inventory visibility and lowering supply chain costs.
    • In the Department Store/Specialty Store/Mass Merchant segment, retailers that are growing their business with Zebra are reporting 64 percent higher revenue growth, 135 percent higher store growth, 33 percent more store remodels and 53 percent more enterprise IT spend than the surveyed industry average.
    • In the Grocery, Convenience Store, Pharmacy and Supercenter retail segments, Zebra customers are increasing their IT spend at a rate 232 percent higher than the surveyed industry average while growing stores at a rate 60 percent higher and remodeling stores at a 22 percent higher rate.
  • Store and fulfillment operations are transforming dramatically to adapt to evolving retail models.  Among surveyed North American retailers expecting growth of more than five percent, 60 percent cited faster sales growth as a key driver for changes in store operations while 52 percent cited the shift in sales to online purchases.  Interestingly, 52 percent identified same-day delivery as a key warehouse operations driver as consumer demand is encouraging retailers to improve the in-store returns process and enhance their fulfillment and delivery strategies.
  • In coordination with the IHL Group and Peerless Insights, a custom research agency, Zebra’s Retail Transformation study included detailed interviews with leading retailers, 400 online surveys and an additional study of 1,800 publicly- and privately-held retailers across 9 retail segments.
  • The interviews and surveys were conducted between July and October 2017.



About Zebra

With the unparalleled operational visibility Zebra (NASDAQ: ZBRA) provides, enterprises become as smart and connected as the world we live in. Real-time information – gleaned from visionary solutions including hardware, software and services – give organizations the competitive edge they need to simplify operations, know more about their businesses and customers and empower their mobile workers to succeed in today’s data-centric world. For more information, visit www.zebra.com or sign up for our news alerts. Follow us on LinkedInTwitter and Facebook.

DevPro Journal Staff

Zebra Workstation Connect