Why U.S. investors should pay attention to this development.EmptyShelves

A new movement in technology is threatening to disrupt the world’s retail markets, and potentially send big name companies like Wal-Mart and Target to the scrapheap, if they don’t innovate.

Called “additive layer manufacturing (ALM),” this technology represents a sea of change for any company that sells consumer products or food.

According to CNBC, ALM “will radically change the world.”

“It’s opening up a whole new world,” says Sarah Boisvert, a technology consultant at MIT.

In America, retail is a $4.5 trillion industry.

Worldwide, it’s a $22 trillion industry.

China supplies many of the world’s retailers, leveraging its ability to use cheap labor to wholesale a large volume of products to corporations around the world.

According to Investment Watch, additive layer manufacturing “could easily destroy China’s economy, [and potentially] trigger total destruction of worldwide manufacturing, and massive job losses.”

Online retailer Amazon.com is taking preemptive measures to safeguard its business. They’ve begun patenting ALM technology, and have already started using this device in its supply chain.

Wal-Mart, realizing its future business is under assault, is investing heavily in this new technology as well.

“It’s clear we need to change, and we need to change fast,” said Doug McMillon, Wal-Mart’s CEO.

What moves should investors make to capitalize on this trend?

According to the Palm Beach Research Group, a financial think tank, the next phase of ALM’s development is getting underway, and a handful of companies stand to prosper.

For more information, watch the informational video they posted online.