Explosive Growth in Mobile Self-scanning, Reaching New Countries and Retailers

The number of stores allowing customers to scan items as they shop grew by nearly a quarter globally last year, and is expected to triple by 2028.

57,000 stores offering mobile self-scanning

Retailers are increasingly investing in mobile self-scanning technology, with an additional 11,500 stores offering the service in 2022. According to Mobile Self-Scanning and Checkout-Free 2023, a brand new study from strategic research and consulting firm RBR, more than 57,000 locations now enable customers to scan items using either their smartphone, a device provided by the retailer, or both.

Smartphones drive growth in new and existing markets

In many countries, particularly in Europe, mobile self-scanning using retailer-provided handheld devices is well established. However, RBR’s research shows that in these markets, and beyond, merchants are increasingly offering the service via smartphone applications; major supermarket chains in Germany, Japan and Sweden rolled out this service to many more outlets during 2022. Retailers are also piloting solutions with smart carts, which record items placed within them, in increasing numbers.

Thanks to smartphone applications, mobile self-scanning is also being introduced in new markets year on year. By the end of 2022, customers could scan items as they shopped in countries ranging from Egypt to Taiwan, and from Kuwait to the Philippines.

Self-scanning expands beyond just grocery

The study shows that retailers of all types are rolling out mobile self-scanning in greater numbers. More than a third of stores offering the service globally are non-grocery, with furniture giant IKEA expanding mobile self-scanning to most of its stores. In the USA, major chains such as Dollar General and Dick’s Sporting Goods offer the solution to customers. Convenience store chain 7-Eleven has also rolled out the service to hundreds more outlets across several countries.

Mobile self-scanning stores expected to triple by 2028

The mobile self-scanning market is forecast to grow strongly, by an average of 20% per year, over the next six years, according to RBR. Supermarket chains which currently provide handheld devices are expected to add consumer applications to their offerings in future, while in Asia cart-based solutions will also become more common. The rise of self-scanning in other segments is set to continue, particularly in convenience with fuel, home improvement and other specialty retail.

Alex Maple, who led RBR’s Mobile Self-Scanning and Checkout-Free 2023 research, commented: “Soaring growth in the number of stores offering mobile self-scanning will continue across geographies and merchant sectors. With costs continuing to rise, and labour shortages in some countries, mobile self-scanning will enable retailers to mitigate these pressures while offering customers a choice of shopping experience”.

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