Global retail sector technology spending will jump by 3.6 per cent year-on-year to reach almost $203.6 bn in 2019, says a report by Tech, collaboration between Retail Week and the World Retail Congress. The report indicates that while retailers know they need to invest in technology, they don’t always have the knowledge to take action.

According to the report ‘A World in Motion: Retail Digital Transformation Across the Globe and the Technology Supporting It’, the investment in retail and change of focus means that retail now surpasses most other industries with respect to IT spend. Retail CIOs are increasingly held accountable for business results and not just responsible for misimising risk and cost as was once the case.

Identifying a single view of the customer and driving personalisation of individual customer experiences are the main omni-channel priorities for retailers this year. Digital in particular, website development – ranks first ahead of supply chain and general customer experience investment in the list of retailers’ general business priorities for 2019.

Tech asked retail executives in France, Germany, US and UK, to access hot technologies and new strategies region by region. AI, robotics and blockchain were found high on the agenda for each region, while voice and visual search ranked high in the priority list of each country.

Retailers are also divided between how they want to work with their suppliers as digital transformation unfolds. “European retailers seem to be more open to being equal partners with tech suppliers compared to the US. We believe this could start to shift over the next 12 months as digital innovation and customer demand shows no sign of slowing,” said Tech Event Director Poppie Mickleburgh.