POS Shipments Plunge For Department Stores, Bars, While Inching Up For QSR, Warehouse Chains

Last year was an interesting one for POS shipments. Department stores purchased 24 percent fewer systems than the prior year and bar restaurants bought 19 percent fewer, according to a new report from IHL. Those were the biggest segment drops, while the only two segments to increase at all—and even then, only at 2 percent—were quick-service restaurants and warehouse club chains.

But the economic hardships of last year may have shined a tiny ray of light on some bargain-hunting retailers at the expense of Big Blue. IHL President Greg Buzek said second quarter POS shipments last year for IBM plunged more than 40 percent worldwide, and a good chunk of that was a flood of barely used, ludicrously discounted POS units from chains that never made it to 2010.

"More than any other vendor, IBM was adversely affected by the number of late model used units from failed retailers like Circuit City, CompUSA and Linens N Things," Buzek said. "The company rebounded strongly in the second half after those units worked through the system, and it expects strong, high single-digit to double-digit growth in 2010."

IHL is projecting the total size of the hardware/software/services POS space in the U.S. and Canada to be $5 billion this year.

Buzek also noted another interesting IBM POS factoid, perfect for the next time you get pulled into a game of Trivial Pursuit: The In-Store Hardware Edition. "IBM has been a victim of its own platform reliability. Of the 1.2 million units in North America that are 9 years old (or older), more than 50 percent are IBM 4690 platform terminals," he said. "The fact that many have kept on working, extending the lifecycle, has hurt their replacement business in the last couple of years and made them more reliant on new stores and new accounts."