Recent research indicates that 32% of retail leaders express concern over the implications of AI and machine learning in their industry. The investigation, carried out by global digital transformation consultancy Kin + Carta, discovered that a significant number of these leaders are experiencing “tech anxiety” due to the swift advancements in technology and their potential effects on business operations.

The research sheds light on the various causes for tech anxiety amongst retail leaders:

  • 48% of those concerned about AI and machine learning believe technology is advancing too rapidly.
  • Cybersecurity is another prominent worry, with 25% of retail leaders identifying it as a source of their anxiety.
  • Nearly one in five (18%) are anxious about the implications for customer experience.

When exploring the topic of digital transformation and financial investment:

  • A commanding 78% of the surveyed industry leaders view investment in digital transformation as either pivotal or essential for the success of their businesses.
  • Within this group, 89% opine that such an investment is imperative in the coming 12 months.

Furthermore, 61% of retail leaders associate digital transformation with enhancements in customer experience. This suggests a consensus that customers are central to the digital transformation strategies of retail businesses. Key areas of focus within this transformation include tailored marketing strategies, creating personalised experiences for customers, and harnessing data for improved customer retention.

This data is extracted from the “2024 Leadership Priorities in Tech: Leading through tech anxiety in retail and distribution” segment of Kin + Carta’s comprehensive “2024 Leadership Priorities in Tech” report. The report analyses priorities and apprehensions from 800 senior business leaders in both the US and the UK. Participants in the study predominantly comprised C-suite executives and high-level decision-makers in organisations generating over £800m in turnover or over $1bn in revenue.

Commenting on the findings, Richard Neish, Global Chief Strategy Officer at Kin + Carta, remarked, “The influence of AI is extensive, leading to sleepless nights for business leaders across various sectors, including retail. While these groundbreaking technologies will undeniably alter the modus operandi of retailers, the key is in investing judiciously to mitigate risks and, in turn, alleviate associated anxieties.”

Read the full report here.