The following is taken from a Retail Banking Research news release regarding the "Global EPOS and Self-Checkout 2009" study. Click here for more information about the report.
According to the findings of a new study from London-based Retail Banking Research Ltd., the number of self-checkout terminals had reached 92,600 by the end of 2008. "Global EPOS and Self-Checkout 2009" was carried out in the first half of 2009 and comprised extensive primary and secondary research, showing that the number of self-checkout units installed around the world has increased by more than a quarter since the end of 2007. Moreover, RBR forecasts that by the end of 2014, the number of SCO terminals installed around the world will have more than quadrupled, totaling an estimated 430,000 units.
The last decade has seen the retail industry, particularly outlets such as supermarkets, hypermarkets and convenience stores, embrace the ethos of self-service at the point-of-sale. Many of the world's top retailers, including Wal-Mart, Carrefour and Tesco, are rolling out self-checkout technology in selected countries. Despite the recent progress, though, self-checkout remains a niche product in all but a handful of countries, and still has a long way to go to reach the level of penetration achieved by traditional-assisted POS terminals.
The number of self-checkout units installed worldwide increased 28 percent to 92,600 in 2008. North America dominates the self-checkout market in terms of installed base, with 74,000 units in service at the end of 2008, representing 80 percent of the global total.
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According to the survey results, Western Europe is home to 15,000 machines and Asia-Pacific is home to 3,000 machines, while other regions contain no more than 700 machines between them. RBR's research also revealed that in 2008, 22,800 global self-chekcout shipments were made, up 19 percent from 2007.
RBR forecasts that the self-checkout installed base will more than quadruple in size to reach 430,000 units by 2014. North America will still account for more than half of that figure, while Western Europe will represent 32 percent and Asia-Pacific 13 percent. The adoption of self-checkout technology in the other regions is expected to remain significantly lower, with these regions together accounting for fewer than 4 percent of terminals.
Compelling business reasons for deploying self-checkout units include cost-effectiveness, because one attendant can supervise four or more terminals, and increased sales, since self-checkout units more than double the number of points of sale that can be made available to customers in the same space as regular EPOS terminals.
Moreover, self-checkout is increasingly popular with customers because it gives the impression of faster service — an experience which one leading supplier calls "wait warping." Customers also feel more in control when they can be sure that all discounts are being correctly registered and their personal information is being protected.
It is for reasons such as these that the world market for self-checkout terminals is growing.
In North America alone, self-checkout technology is forecast to grow 20 percent annually over the next six years. Some of the larger North American retailers are installing self-checkout units in greater numbers than before, and this has increased forecasts for the region.
The drivers for deployment in Western Europe are similar. Both regions have relatively high labor costs.
In markets with lower labor costs, the business case is weaker. Brazil, for example, has seen only a handful of self-checkout installations, and those that are deployed are hardly used at all. Employee unions are strong and highly regarded in Brazil, and they have greatly publicized their opinion that retailers use self-checkout technology to replace the human workforce, making the technology somewhat unpopular.
Another potentially huge market is Japan. While it is one of the world's largest markets for assisted EPOS terminals, it is still a relatively small market in terms of self-checkout units. RBR attributes Japan's lacking self-service to a national perception that self-checkout reduces the level of service. RBR believes that perspective, however, is gradually changing.
RBR's research also showed that NCR Corp., Fujitsu, IBM and Wincor Nixdorf are the world's leading self-checkout manufacturers, in terms of the number of shipments and installations. These four vendors account for 99 percent of the world's self-checkout market.