The retail customer analytics business is on the cusp of a new generation of growth with ABI Research, the leader in transformative technology innovation market intelligence, projecting the market to approach $1.5 billion by 2021, with a CAGR of 13.8%. As retailers increasingly adopt in-store analytics and new 3D sensor technologies, camera analytics vendors must move with these trends or miss the growth opportunity.
“Most camera analytics companies support at least one in-store technology, such as Wi-Fi, BLE Beacons, and LED, through camera integration in the case of Nomi and RetailNext,” says Patrick Connolly, Principal Analyst at ABI Research. “But these platforms pale in comparison to the offerings of a dedicated in-store analytics vendor, like Walkbase. One of the best ways to overcome the shortcomings is to create a symbiotic relationship with a vendor already in the retail space through acquisition or partnership.”
Wi-Fi dominated the 2015 in-store analytics space with almost 400% YoY growth in deployments. While BLE beacons are not a great short-term analytics option due to their limited reach, camera analytics vendors must understand the secondary revenue potential in creating huge sensor networks. In time, beacons’ problems around reach will disappear and they will become another valuable probe.
This year’s market will see vendors launching analytics tools around demographic analysis, loss prevention, shelf level interactions, and external footfall. As retailers transition to staff handheld devices, there will be a greater focus on staff analytics and merging inventory data with customer data. The integration of disparate retail technologies creates new services and a much clearer ROI for retailers. “Tyco’s new Synergy solution, which combines its strengths in camera analytics, loss prevention, and RFiD, is a great example of this,” continues Connolly.
As camera analytics technologies move toward 3D, both Google’s Project Tango and Microsoft’s Kinect will take their first real steps into the retail environment. While such technologies are expensive to deploy today, off-the-shelf platforms will soon become widely available, significantly reducing cost and opening the market to start-ups.
“Project Tango and Kinect represent both threats and opportunities for the camera analytics industry,” concludes Connolly. “Vendors like Shopperception and Vizualize are already embracing the shift toward 3D camera technologies. Others need to follow suit if they wish to remain relevant in five years’ time.”
These findings are part of ABI Research’s Location Technologies Service, which includes research reports, market data, insights, and competitive assessments.
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