Over half of the top 100 US retailers will look to connect with in-store customers in new ways this year. These retailers will be testing new technologies known as beacons, and the market for beacons is forecasted to be huge.
Though the tests are being rolled out in small batches with only 8% of top retail locations expected to put the technology in use, that number is expected to jump to 85% by 2016. Furthermore, forecasts show around 4.5 million beacons will be installed by 2018. These triple digit growth rates would make beacons the fastest growing in-store technology since mobile credit card readers such as Square and PayPal’s Here.
Even though many tech companies are vying to become the leader in the beacon market, Apple is currently ahead of the pack and Google is on its tail. Its been noted that 570 million Android and Apple smartphones are compatible with current beacon technology known as BLE (Bluetooth low energy). And even though Android holds the majority of the smartphone market share, iPhones that run iOS 7 have the advantage of being able to scan for surrounding beacons when beacon apps aren’t running, an aspect Google has not yet released on Androids.
There is no doubt that the increase in beacon technology will change how consumers shop in stores.