This IDC Perspective covers the National Retail Federation (NRF) 2024 event from an analytics and AI lens. The National Retail Federation provides one of the most engaging, exceptionally mapped forums to understand retail in the modern age. The NRF Big Show held annually in January provides the blueprint for retailers throughout the year with thousands of vendors and tens of thousands of attendees. NRF 2024 was no longer retailers rebuilding but was clearly thousands of vendors engaged as retail has been hitting peak performance since the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event highlighted the growing importance of generative AI (GenAI) in retail, with vendors showcasing practical applications of GenAI and AI in their solutions. The event also emphasized the role of partnerships in enhancing retail solutions, the emergence of retail media networks as a new revenue stream, and the fundamental role of data in developing GenAI, AI, retail media, and partnership rules. The rapid shift from GenAI experimentation to implementation indicates a move toward a data-driven view of retail operations.

“GenAI moved from experimentation to implementation rapidly, driving the retail industry toward a data-driven view of merchandising operations.” — Ananda Chakravarty, research VP, IDC Retail Insights

Read the report here (subscription required).