37% of Large Retailers to Deploy Beacons This Year

Many large and small retailers plan to deploy beacons this year but those in the middle, not so much.

Comprehensive research around beacon deployment has been somewhat scarce in the market to date.

We know beacon deployment at retail last year was hardly a blockbuster, although there were countless experiments and trials going on, some relatively large in scope. The same is still true today, despite a few large-scale deployment announcements.

Deep inside a study focused on in-store networks and Wi-Fi, a report I wrote about here last month (In-Store Wi-Fi: 40% Now, Going to 76% This Year), was a passing mention about beacons in retail.

I have since asked the IHL Group, which conducted the study for Earthlink and AirTight, for a further analysis and breakdown of beacon usage by size of retailer. I just received those results.

The IHL study was based on an online survey of more than 100 executives at retailers in the categories of mass merchants, specialty and department stores, food and drug and hospitality. 

About half of the retailers surveyed work in retail establishments with more than $1 billion annual revenue.

Researchers categorized the retailers into three buckets: Tier 1, those above $1 billion in sales; Tier 2, those $500 million to $1 billion; and Tier 3, those below $500 million in sales.

As of now, 10% of Tier 1 stores have adopted beacons, none in Tier 2 and 7% in Tier 3.

However, by the end of this year the picture promises to be somewhat different.

Here’s the projected beacon adoption rate by the end of this year, based on size of retailer:

  • Tier 1 – 37%
  • Tier 2 – 11%
  • Tier 3 – 31%

The picture changes yet again by the end of next year, based on the study. By then, all three sizes of retail categories level out. Here’s the beacon deployment forecast by the end of next year:

  • Tier 1 – 56%
  • Tier 2 – 50%
  • Tier 3 – 48%

It appears the largest and smallest retailers will about triple their beacon adoption this year.

The major growth for retailers between $500 million and $1 billion in sales will occur next year, not this year.

There still are some that have no plans to deploy beacons at all. Here’s that breakdown, of those who have no plans based on retailer size:

  • Tier 1 – 29%
  • Tier 2 – 39%
  • Tier 3 – 41%

For now, the big beaconing is happening at the big retailers

1 comment about "37% of Large Retailers to Deploy Beacons This Year".
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  1. Devika Girish from MobStac, May 20, 2015 at 6:12 a.m.

    That's some great news Chuck. Thanks for sharing. I would also like to add that gamification and effective loyalty programs are 2 of the major reasons why retailers are focusing on beacons. In fact, if you go by stats, 87% of retailers plan to use gamification to engage the customer within five years, while 22% of retailers plan to use beacons to update their loyalty programs.  Another important fact is that, merely deploying beacons won’t give you an edge. Retailers need to invest in data analytics and use this intelligence to drive conversions and increase revenue. For this, it is crucial that retailers have a solid understanding of the metrics involved in data-driven decision making. We have discussed in detail on what are the different metrics that brick and mortar store retailers need to measure to offer a better experience to shoppers here. It talks about various metrics to be tracked under various segments- right from customer path to loyalty and customer engagement:

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