Almost half of UAE-based CEOs in the retail industry intend to start using artificial intelligence (AI) in the next two years to enhance the store experience for customers.
This is according to the 2018 Global Consumer Executive Top of Mind survey, jointly conducted by KPMG International and The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF).
Global CEOs, however, were less optimistic about the adoption of AI, with only 24% expressing intent to start using AI over the next few years.
They were also less confident about the prospects of technology in retail, with 48% saying that brands would use technology to enhance the retail store experience.
This is in stark contrast with UAE CEOs, who were confident of harnessing technology to transform the customer experience in-store.
When it comes to the overarching theme of business transformation, 80% of UAE CEOs said they planned to prioritise it over the next two years versus 57.5% of CEOs globally.
As changing customer behaviours and shifting demographics contribute to sustained margin pressures, companies are ramping up to embrace digital and AI technologies underpinned by data and analytics.
This shift is helping boost margins, customer centricity, agility and efficiency by replacing or augmenting some human activities with technology, and by shifting technology to the cloud.
Anurag Bajpai, head of retail, KPMG Lower Gulf, said: "We are envisaging a major push towards embracing technology to enhance the retail experience. The next few years in the UAE may see more brands adopt AI, VR and connected technology to transform the in-store experience and integrate online and offline experiences.
"The 2018 Top of Mind Survey finds an industry aggressively navigating a sea of change, where retailers and manufacturers appear to be radically rethinking their strategy, culture and processes and becoming more agile as they focus on growth."
"Today's consumer and retail market is beyond disruption - we are disrupted - and CEOs need to listen to the market, look outward and focus on changing their business," added Willy Kruh, KPMG global chair, Consumer & Retail.
"It's an increasingly difficult tightrope to walk between dealing with both internal and external continuous disruption, but both are key to creating customer centric organisations. Those companies that cannot authentically connect to customers will get left behind."