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The use of artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming a key success factor for retailers - and the new technology is already playing an increasingly important role in practice. The potential applications are diverse - from a personalized customer approach to automated process optimization and pricing: AI will lead to an increase in efficiency in retail along the entire value chain. Nevertheless, the challenges should not be underestimated: Retailers need a clear digitalization strategy, a clean infrastructural foundation and an employee culture that actively supports the change process.

In the current Retail Sales Monitor, we highlight the areas of application and future plans in bricks-and-mortar retail and e-commerce and classify the opportunities and challenges.

AI in retail: three key findings in a compact overview

  • AI and machine learning will be the most important technological trend in the coming years - according to more than half of the retailers surveyed in a study by the EHI Retail Institute. In the fashion and accessories and food retail sectors, two thirds and three quarters of retailers respectively rated AI/machine learning as the "most important future technology".
  • Another survey shows that just under a quarter of the retailers surveyed will be using AI in 2023. This is a significant increase compared to 2021 (+10%). At the same time, the importance of AI projects has increased: A third give AI projects a high priority (+17 percent compared to 2021). The strong growth is due on the one hand to the constantly growing application possibilities of AI and on the other to the increasing availability of digital tools.
  • Over 70% of marketing managers in the sector already use AI for content creation. Among other things, the focus is on SEO-compliant copywriting for social media. The AI application fields and projects - implemented or planned - are complex overall. The top categories: Category management, purchasing and private labels as well as logistics, merchandise planning and supply chain management.
The Retail Sales Monitor also provides the most important facts and figures on developments in the German retail sector in 2023 as a whole. Overall, the retail sector is recording a real decline in sales of 3.4%. However, the forecast for 2024 is positive: the German Retail Association (HDE) expects a slight increase in sales of 1 percent in real terms.

For the KPMG Retail Sales Monitor, we work with the EHI Retail Institute to examine developments, trends and drivers in the sector on a quarterly basis. You can subscribe to our newsletter here.

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KPMG Retail Sales Monitor