There is a newer version of this report available: Digital Intelligence Briefing: 2018 Digital Trends in Retail

The 2017 Digital Trends in Retail report explores the effects of digital disruption in the sector, providing guidance to organisations that want to stay ahead of the curve.

It highlights the key digital trends, challenges and opportunities which retailers need to be aware of during 2017, covering topics ranging from customer experience and mobile to data-driven marketing and personalisation.

The research, conducted by Econsultancy in partnership with Adobe, is based on a sample of almost 500 retail respondents who were among more than 14,000 digital professionals taking part in the seventh annual Digital Trends survey, carried out in November and December 2016.

The following sections are featured in the report:

  • Digital maturity in retail: marketing and beyond
  • Increased availability of data fuels personalisation
  • Focus on mobile continues to bear fruit
  • 2020 vision – a technology-driven future with a human touch
  • Actionable tips to help future-proof your retail business

Findings include:

  • Asked about the extent to which digital permeates their marketing activities, 13% of retailers taking part in the survey describe themselves as ‘digital-first’ (slightly higher than the 10% average across other sectors).
  • More than half (54%) of retailers say that the customer experience is their most important area of strategic focus, way ahead of cross-channel marketing (16%), data-driven marketing (14%), mobile (11%) and programmatic buying / optimisation (4%).
  • Mobile marketing is the area where retail companies are most likely to be increasing investment in the year ahead. Almost two-thirds (62%) of retail respondents say this part of the budget is going up in 2017.
  • Mobile optimisation is a top-three digital tactical priority for 23% of retailers, versus only 14% for non-retail respondents.
  • Out of a range of technologies including artificial intelligence, voice interfaces, the Internet of Things and evolving payment mechanisms such as mobile wallets, ‘engaging audiences through virtual or augmented reality’ is seen as the single most exciting prospect for 2020.


Econsultancy’s Digital Intelligence Briefings, sponsored by Adobe, look at some of the most important trends affecting the marketing landscape.