Wal-Mart Spent $10.5 Billion on Information Technology in 2015


April 21, 2016

Original article on the Wall Street Journal

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. again tops the list of the biggest technology spenders worldwide, shelling out more than $10.5 billion in 2015, according to market researcher International Data Corp. Five of the top 10 companies are in financial services, including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp.

Together, the 10 spent an estimated $53.7 billion, up from $45.3 billion in 2014, IDC said (see chart).

Pent-up demand for business projects after drastic IT spending cuts in the years following the U.S. recession has propelled IT spending higher in recent years, David Lantsman, a senior research analyst at IDC, told CIO Journal. “They have to spend. They don’t want to get left behind,” he said.

Wal-Mart is navigating shifts in shopper behavior by building e-commerce capabilities, which includes plans to spend $2 billion on e-commerce by the end of 2017. The retailer also intends to expand its online grocery business, in part by targeting new customers with analytics features in its mobile shopping app. Wal-Mart did not respond to a request for comment on the IDC spending estimates.

IDC classified IT spending to include hardware, software, IT services, telecommunications services, and internal IT spending, which includes salaries and benefits.

Cybersecurity concerns are pushing spending higher at financial services companies, Mr. Lantsman said, pointing to a 2014 attack at JPMorgan that exposed sensitive information on about 76 million households. The bank has said it plans to spend roughly $500 million on cybersecurity this year, about double what it spent in 2014. Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan has said that the bank’s security budget is effectively unlimited.

But growing economic uncertainty now has tempered IT spending in some sectors,such as the petroleum industry where oil prices continue to bounce up and down. ExxonMobil Corp. was not among the heaviest technology spenders in 2015, after having spent an estimated $3.5 billion in 2014.