1. Analysis
August 9, 2022

Filings buzz: tracking the internet of things mentions in retail

We've analysed companies' annual reports and other filings to see which key issues are receiving the most attention.

By Data Journalism Team

Mentions of the internet of things within the filings of companies in the retail sector were 21% higher between July 2021 and June 2022 than in 2016, according to the latest analysis of data from GlobalData.

When retail companies publish annual and quarterly reports, ESG reports and other filings, GlobalData analyses the text and identifies individual sentences that relate to disruptive forces facing companies in the coming years. The internet of things is one of these topics - companies that excel and invest in these areas are thought to be better prepared for the future business landscape and better equipped to survive unforeseen challenges.

To assess whether the internet of things is featuring more in the summaries and strategies of retail companies, two measures were calculated. Firstly, we looked at the percentage of companies which have mentioned the internet of things at least once in filings during the past twelve months - this was 49% compared to 36% in 2016. Secondly, we calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to the internet of things.

Of the 10 biggest employers in the retail sector, Amazon was the company which referred to the internet of things the most between July 2021 and June 2022. GlobalData identified 12 internet of things-related sentences in the United States-based company's filings - 0.3% of all sentences. Walmart mentioned the internet of things the second most - the issue was referred to in 0.2% of sentences in the company's filings. Other top employers with high internet of things mentions included Home Depot, JD and Carrefour.

This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on the internet of things and how important the issue is considered within the retail sector, but it also has limitations and should be interpreted carefully. For example, a company mentioning the internet of things more regularly is not necessarily proof that they are utilising new techniques or prioritising the issue, nor does it indicate whether the company's ventures into the internet of things have been successes or failures.

GlobalData also categorises the internet of things mentions by a series of subthemes. Of these subthemes, the most commonly referred to topic in the second quarter of 2022 was 'ambient commerce', which made up 83% of all internet of things subtheme mentions by retail companies.

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