Retailers’ Demand for Cash Automation Solutions Surges

Despite the impact of COVID-19 on supply chains and cash usage, investment by retailers in devices that count, verify and store banknotes is increasing worldwide

Efficiency of cash management is key for retail and hospitality operators

RBR’s brand new study, Retail Cash Automation 2023, reveals that the number of cash automation devices installed at retailers increased by more than 20% between end of 2019 and 2022 to reach more than 900,000. This was despite cash usage coming under even more pressure than before from the increased use of electronic payments across the world owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. While cash use remains strong in many countries across Asia, Africa and the Americas, even in markets where it is falling or stagnant, retailers continue to look for ways to make the processing of cash more efficient.

Investment in point-of-sale devices booming

Back-office devices, both recycling and accepting-only, continue to drive growth in the market according to the new research. However, retailers are increasingly looking at how they can deploy cash automation technology at the point of sale (POS) as part of employee-assisted transactions.

Although well-established in Japan for many years, POS devices are increasingly common elsewhere, including in many European countries; excluding Japan, installations grew by 58% from end-2019 to end-2022. One major reason is hygiene, with outlets such as bakeries and butchers deploying the technology to allow customers to deposit the cash themselves, eliminating the need for staff to handle it.

Glory and Sesami lead in point-of-sale and back-office markets

RBR’s research shows that Sesami is the largest supplier of back-office units globally. The company is the result of a merger between manufacturers Tidel, Gunnebo and ARCA, with cash management firm Garda. The majority of Sesami’s devices are installed in the USA, where Tidel has a strong presence. Many back-office units are rebadged by cash management companies, such as Brink’s and Loomis, which offer devices to retailers as part of an overall cash management solution, including security services and provisional credit.

Glory is the largest vendor of POS units, partly owing to the huge number of recyclers deployed in its home market of Japan. However, such devices are increasingly installed by retailers in Europe, and Glory also accounts for more than half of all back-office recyclers worldwide. Other major suppliers of cash automation units at the point-of-sale include StrongPoint and Volumatic.

Resilience of cash will prompt further investment in automation

RBR forecasts that between 2022 and 2027, the number of retail cash automation devices installed at retailers worldwide will grow to around 1.3 million. In addition to increasing the efficiency and reducing the costs of cash processing, labour shortages will also lead retailers to look for new ways of automating tasks previously undertaken by employees.

Alex Maple, who led RBR’s Retail Cash Automation 2023 study, commented: “Despite coming under increasing pressure in several markets, use of cash remains resilient and in many countries continues to grow. The continued investment in automation both in the back office and at point of sale, proves that an increasing number of retailers are focused on managing cash as efficiently as possible”.

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