Merchant Innovation

Retail Self-Checkouts Soar Globally

It’s been a good year for self-checkouts in the retail industry.

Research and consulting firm RBR Research just shared news of its findings from the Global EPOS and Self-Checkout 2017 study, which showed a 67 percent growth in self-checkouts. In 2016, there were 49,000 self-checkout (SCO) units delivered around the world, with the top ten U.S. retailers seeing an astounding 155 percent increase in shipments.

While countries like Brazil and China began using SCOs as the primary mode of payments for the first time, South Africa’s retail industry has been slow to adopt for fear of putting people out of work.

Two countries that are finding new ways to implement their own form of SCOs is the U.K. and Japan. While the U.K. is using compact card-only versions, Japan is using a semi-self service, where employees do the initial heavy lifting.

By the year 2022, RBR Research is predicting that there will be 400,000 SCOs in use around the world, which is a 53 percent increase from today. RBR Research’s lead researcher for this, Alan Burt, commented in the release about the far-reaching efforts of payments via SCOs: “With self-checkout technology being adopted from Turkey to Thailand, RBR forecasts that by 2022 there will be nearly 400,000 SCO machines installed by retailers across more than 60 countries worldwide.”

Given the current SCO landscape and stores like Amazon Go’s grocery stores popping up, it’s possible that the entire retail industry is going to see a major shift in the next few years. As we’ve seen big box retailers like Macy’s and J.C. Penney’s close down a myriad of stores, installing SCOs may be the answer for some retailers looking to cut down on costs.



The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.

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