Retail, Footwear & Apparel Have Yet to Unlock Value of Digital in Product Development: New Research

July 26, 2018

Third annual Kalypso survey reveals advances in 3D digital product creation and advanced analytics but slow overall progress

BEACHWOOD, Ohio -- The importance and value of digital technologies in retail, footwear and apparel product development continue to grow year over year, but few companies have figured out how to unlock its true value, according to new survey results released by consulting firm Kalypso.

The annual research is produced in collaboration with PI Apparel and Indiana University Kelley School of Business Center for Education and Research in Retail to report on the adoption of digital technologies and product development practices in the retail, footwear and apparel industry. Executives from over 40 companies across North America, Europe and Asia participated in the third annual survey.

Despite slow progress in the digital transformation of product development, retailers continue to make advancements in the areas of 3D digital product creation and advanced analytics. Consistent with past research, 3D product design and voice of customer remain the starting points for 3D digital product creation and advanced analytics, respectively.

Respondents once again rate 3D design tools highest in business value, importance and current spend, though this year’s research indicates an uptick in value and planned investment in capabilities and technologies beyond 3D product design, including digital sampling, virtual style-out and assortment visualization.

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented (AR) remain laggard technologies with over 50 percent of respondents not knowing when they will invest. Technologies to watch – rated as important but not yet attempted – include virtual showrooms, material visual database and 3D integration to product lifecycle management (PLM)/master data management (MDM).

While the vast majority of respondents believe it’s important to centralize digital assets (86 percent) and allow global access (95 percent), only 8 percent have connected their digital processes and tools across the product lifecycle. Respondents are divided on whether they have the right infrastructure in place to achieve a connected digital platform that unlocks the value of digital technologies and assets.

This year, funding as a top barrier for digital technologies has been replaced by process and culture change. Talent and staffing digital programs continue to be a challenge however, with 77 percent of respondents indicating that new roles are required to close significant gaps between current capabilities and future needs.

For more key research insights, download the report summary at


Kalypso is a global consulting firm helping clients innovate in a digital world. We provide companies with comprehensive strategy, operations, digital and technology services to increase revenue, improve profitability and differentiate in the marketplace.