More than 2.7 million tablet devices will be shipped for use in North American retail and hospitality by 2015, an increase of 450% over current rates. Specialty retailers will deploy nearly half of all the tablets shipped to retail, and the overall tablet boom will be part of a $5 billion annual market for tablets and smartphones, according to a new study from IHL Group.
"A complete transformation of the customer experience will occur at clothing and department stores over the next three years," said IHL Group president Greg Buzek in a statement. "Store personnel will be able to greet shoppers with their device, access purchase history, help customers accessorize, and even walk around as a personal shopper and check out the customer – all from the same device."
Other key findings from the study, titled Mobility: A Gutenberg Moment for Retail, A Threat to POS, include:
· The popularity of lower-priced consumer devices will not displace sales of rugged handhelds; this market is projected to rise close to 30% over the next four years through more competitive offerings.
· Handhelds will have a dramatic impact on traditional POS shipments over time, reducing their growth by 11% in 2015, and in some segments by as much as 20% from previously forecasted volumes. By 2015, annual shipments of mobile devices will be four times that of traditional POS terminals.
· Non-rugged handhelds (mobile phones) will experience heavy growth over the next two years, with restaurants deploying nearly half of all such devices shipped to retail. However, these devices will experience heavy churn rates in the 2012-2015 time frame, so the installed base will not grow as much as might be expected.
"The desire for the 'Apple Store experience' among retailers is being driven by the CEO level on down, and its momentum is undeniable," said Buzek. "For years, retailers have been looking for technology to both provide associates with more data on the products they are offering, and recognize and reward customers as they come through that door. Mobile devices are making this possible."
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