Robots Haven’t Taken Over Retail—Yet

Innovation in Automation Drives the Forecast for 2022 and Beyond

Executive Summary

When Jeff Bezos mused in 2015 about delivery drones being as common as mail trucks, the concept still seemed to be part of a faraway future. Well, the future has arrived. Amazon expects to start delivering with drones by the end of 2022, adding to its arsenal of automated tools. Meanwhile, robots in stores and fulfillment centers are becoming critical parts of retail industry operations and key opportunities to improve the customer experience (CX).


  1. How extensive is retail automation?
  2. What are some of the factors that will determine future automation?
  3. What can retailers do today to take advantage of the opportunities in automation?

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? Our forecast for delivery drones, fulfillment center automation, in-store robots, and QR codes.

KEY STAT: Drone delivery hit an inflection point in 2022, and growth will accelerate over the next three years.

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Yoram Wurmser


Jade Appel
Associate Forecasting Analyst
Blake Droesch
Caroline Fulford
Senior Researcher

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