Oakdene Hollins completed a report on behalf of a client researching into the innovation of anti-theft devices for the retail market.  The aim was to look at the capacity of the anti-theft devices market to generate jobs, growth and wider societal benefits, with a focus on the more readily available market opportunities.  Our research included a web-based literature survey to identify the key stakeholders, followed by a series of informal interviews.  Within the ‘anti-theft sector’ we found there is a market for innovative products and designs to deter theft and in turn potentially lower store prices.

We found the marketability to the retail sector of the anti-theft tag device proposed by the client was promising due to the high levels of theft in the product categories the device would protect. The informal interviews identified a route to market for the device based on a niche market suited to its unique selling point. A clear theme from those being interviewed was the importance of price, and to a lesser extent size, on whether a device could succeed in the market.

We identified a potential change in the market with the window for development and investment in legacy anti-theft technologies closing as the RFID-based anti-theft systems becomes more widespread, with 13% of UK retailers reported to be using them. To be competitive in the market our client’s new device would need to be deactivatable by the same equipment that is used for similar anti-theft products.

Finally, our research identified the importance of demonstrating the commercial viability of the product if it is to gain a market share, with the retail loss prevention market growing at 3-4% per year. Moreover, the quality of the product should be tested for reliability to be detected by gate antennae and ability to be deactivated.

Oakdene Hollins was able to give the client a quick turnaround on the project because of our high level of knowledge and expertise in many different areas. Our research methods highlight both excellent technical knowledge and practical research skills. Despite a lack of hard data in this area, we were able to use our resources to undertake comprehensive desk-based research which allowed us to interview high profile and leading companies in both the manufacturing and retail side of the sector, providing high-level data for the client.