Mentions of cloud computing within the filings of companies in the retail sector fell 62% between the third and fourth quarters of 2021.
In total, the frequency of sentences related to cloud computing during 2021 was 27% higher than in 2016 when GlobalData, from whom our data for this article is taken, first began to track the key issues referred to in company filings.
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. Cloud computing 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 cloud computing 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 cloud computing at least once in filings during the past twelve months - this was 43% compared to 22% in 2016. Secondly, we calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to cloud computing.
Of the 10 biggest employers in the retail sector, Amazon was the company which referred to cloud computing the most during 2021. GlobalData identified 56 cloud-related sentences in the United States-based company's filings - 1.1% of all sentences. Walmart mentioned cloud computing the second most - the issue was referred to in 0.12% of sentences in the company's filings. Other top employers with high cloud mentions included Magnit, Carrefour and Target.
Across all retail companies the filing published in the fourth quarter of 2021 which exhibited the greatest focus on cloud computing came from Premier. Of the document's 1,341 sentences, seven (0.5%) referred to cloud computing.
This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on cloud computing 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 cloud computing 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 cloud computing have been successes or failures.
GlobalData also categorises cloud computing mentions by a series of subthemes. Of these subthemes, the most commonly referred to topic in the fourth quarter of 2021 was 'software as a service', which made up 90% of all cloud subtheme mentions by retail companies.