In-store tracking to be a $3 billion market by 2018

In-store tracking technology is a hot topic for retailers today, driving people counting analytics technology to a $3 billion market by 2018, according to a new report.

ABI Research's "Retail Customer Analytics: Technologies, Markets, and Revenues" report broke the market down into 10 retail sectors, including more traditional forms of customer tracking with an emphasis on counting shoppers and managing congestion at checkout lines.

It's the more recent smartphone-based tech, though, that is really driving popularity. Retailers are increasingly able to keep track of where their shoppers are going in-store, how long they're there and which customers are coming back. Those are valuable tools for brick-and-mortar stores looking for any help they can get in creating a personalized experience for customers.

"A range of indoor location and smartphone-based analytics technologies and tools have emerged based around Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, small cells, 3D motion sensing, etc.," said ABI Senior Analyst Patrick Connolly. "For retailers looking to develop shopper marketing strategies, stave off online retail/showrooming, and maximize brick and mortar revenue, these tools are essential. As a result, we see the analytics market growing to over $3 billion by 2018."

The expansion of Apple's iBeacons has been one clear example of in-store tracking taking hold, with more and more retailers rolling them out.

But the way isn't completely clear just yet. Many shoppers still aren't comfortable with the idea of stores tracking them via their smartphones and would rather opt out of such programs. Still, the majority of those customer said they would be willing to put their privacy concerns aside for discounts or promotions that make it worth their while.

For more:
-See this ABI Research press release

Related stories:
All eyes on Apple's WWDC for iBeacon and smarthome announcements
Walgreens launches iBeacon pilot
Mobile payments, in-store tracking among key trends to watch
Google to track how online ads drive in-store sales
Tracking your in-store shoppers, the mobile way