Traditional retailers generate and capture a deluge of data - most notably, customer transaction histories that can reveal detailed product affinities and promotional and marketing response rates. Now the emergence of big data and advanced analytical tools and techniques can connect data with a larger context. Big data can explain the who, what, when, where, why, and how of retailing.
These are challenging times for emerging markets. China's economy is expanding at the slowest pace in more than a decade, and annual growth in once-booming nations like Brazil, Mexico, Russia, and South Africa has slowed to about 1.5 to 2.5 percent. Look around the developing world, and currencies are weakening, worries about asset bubbles and rising debt are mounting, and foreign direct investment has fallen sharply. This volatility leaves many companies wondering if they are overexposed to the risks of emerging markets.
Export manufacturing has recently become the unsung hero of the U.S. economy. Despite all the public focus on the U.S. trade deficit, little attention has been paid to the fact that the country's exports have been growing more than seven times faster than GDP since 2005. As a share of the U.S. economy, in fact, exports are at their highest point in 50 years.