Wal-Mart has once again turned out to be the biggest IT spender in the U.S. corporate world, with the IDC estimating that the bricks-and-mortar retailer spent more than $10.5 billion on information technology in 2015.
Retailers and financial services firms have long been the big IT spenders, but what is surprising is that Wal-Mart also topped the list of IT spenders in 2014. The latest report confirms that the retailing giant has just continued shelling out huge sums of money on technology.
With smartphones becoming ubiquitous, businesses of all kinds are molding themselves to appeal to mobile consumers. Wal-Mart is talking of investing a staggering $2 billion in e-commerce in 2017 and expanding its online grocery business.
This is good news for IT providers such as UST Global, which has been the major IT partner for Wal-Mart for years. Analysts say this endless appetite for technology will continue to fuel IT providers.
Although Wal-Mart is the largest retailer in the world, online rivals like Amazon and Target are making inroads into its stronghold. To compete with them, Wal-Mart has no option but to bolster its e-commerce assets.
Some months ago, Wal-Mart stated in a press release that it would spend between $1.2 and $1.5 billion on e-commerce and digital initiatives in 2016. “We are focused on creating an endless aisle and appealing to our customers’ changing needs,” said Charles Holley, Wal-Mart’s chief financial officer. “Looking forward we expect an increase in global e-commerce sales of around 25% in fiscal year 2016, and we anticipate growth over the three-year period from fiscal years 2016 through 2018 to average 30%–40%.”
Other major spenders in IT are financial services firms such as JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America. Unlike retailers, banks are loosening their purse strings to protect their data and fight against cyber-thieves.
According to the Wall Street Journal, JPMorgan is planning to spend roughly $500 million on cyber-security this year, about double what it spent in 2014. IDC says financial services firms made up half of the top 10 IT spenders in 2015. Those 10 companies spent a collective $53.7 billion on IT in 2015, up from $45.3 billion the previous year.