NEW YORK: US retailers are looking to technology as an important growth driver over the coming year and plan to invest accordingly, a new survey has said.

The 2013 Retail Outlook Survey from KPMG, the tax and advisory firm, interviewed 101 senior executives, a third of whom worked for institutions with annual revenues exceeding $10bn and found that, after geographic expansion, information technology was the most frequently cited area for increased investment.

Some 40% of respondents intended to spend more on IT, compared to 61% who were planning greater expenditure on expanding their reach across the country.

Advertising and marketing/branding was another area frequently referred to for increased investment, by 24% of respondents.

"Technology is paramount to driving growth and enhancing customer engagement for retailers," said Mark Larson KPMG global retail leader.

"With consumer behaviour, spending and demographic profiles changing rapidly, it is absolutely critical that companies take an omnichannel approach to engage consumers, utilizing all the platforms at their disposal, including brick and mortar, online and mobile," he continued.

The particular technology-related trends identified by the executives included social media, mentioned by 71%, mobile and online shopping, named by 52%, and mobile and online promotions and coupons, cited by 51%.

Data and analytics were widely seen as important in many areas, including providing customer insight (72%), brand and product management (67%) and pricing decisions (56%).

But 43% of respondents rated their companies' data analytics literacy as only average.

"A key to success will be investing in technology to harness the vast amounts of structured data that reside in a company as well as the unstructured data online and in social media," said Larson.

"That data can drive the insights that will allow retailers to interact with consumers more effectively and capture more 'wallet-share', as well as identify new markets, new strategies and new operating models to generate growth and profitability."

Data sourced from PR Newswire; additional content by Warc staff