High Investment in Self-Checkout, as Demand Grows Beyond grocery

More than a quarter of global self-checkout shipments went to non-grocery stores as the technology penetrates new segments

Wider range of retailers adopting self-checkout

2022 was the second highest year for self-checkout shipments globally, according to Global EPOS and Self-Checkout 2023, the latest report from strategic research and consulting firm RBR. More than 193,000 units were delivered, slightly below the record set the year before, largely owing to weak activity in China caused by ongoing COVID-19 restrictions; global shipments excluding China rose by 2%.

Major supermarket and hypermarket chains have long been self-checkout proponents, but increasingly the technology is being deployed by other types of retailers. In recent years, major home improvement chains and fashion brands such as Leroy Merlin and Zara are among the firms to roll out the technology.

In addition to international chains, local retailers are also investing in self-checkout. Examples include India’s Retail Reliance, which deployed self-checkout terminals at its Azorte fashion store in 2022, while in Malaysia the rapidly expanding chain Mr DIY has introduced the technology at its flagship store.

Self-checkout booming in the USA and across developing markets

Activity ramped up in the USA with major chains starting rollouts or adding more terminals to their stores. Meanwhile, grocery retailers in developing markets are increasingly adopting the technology, with rollouts at several Grupo Éxito banners in Colombia and at AEON supermarkets in Malaysia. Countries as diverse as Saudi Arabia and Thailand saw self-checkout installations surge in 2022.

Evolving mix of self-checkout options available to customers

Retailers are increasingly deploying self-checkout terminals which do not accept cash, with such units making up 62% of global shipments last year. North America saw an upsurge in deliveries of cashless machines, while adoption also remains strong in Asia. However, many large chains offer customers a mix of cashless and cash-accepting self-checkouts, including Australia’s Woolworths, which colour codes these devices to help customers quickly identify which payment type is accepted.

The technology found at self-checkout continues to diversify, with computer vision increasingly used to replace manual scanning, for example at Circle K convenience stores worldwide. Meanwhile, RFID technology is integrated into self-checkout solutions at a wide range of retailers from fashion chain River Island in the UK to Gramedia bookstores in Indonesia.

Activity set to ramp up as the technology reaches new markets

Global self-checkout shipments are expected to return to growth as China fully opens up after pandemic lockdowns and developing markets continue to embrace the technology. By 2028, global installations are expected to reach 1.9 million.

Jeni Bloomfield, who led RBR’s Global EPOS and Self-Checkout 2023 research, remarked: “With new projects at non-grocery retailers and increasing activity in developing markets from Mongolia to Kuwait, there remains strong demand for self-checkout solutions in various forms across the world”.

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