Report: POS Market To Approach $6 Billion This Year

The IHL Consulting Group report saw an 8 percent increase in the size of the POS market, which isn't bad for a market that traditionally increased about four percent. Still, it's a healthy drop from the double-digit growth of recent years.

The North American POS market report released Tuesday said the largest boosts coming from new store shipments for specialty retailers, particularly for clothing, home improve and car aftermarket. Substantial POS purchases by Kroger and Wal-Mart were specifically cited as materially helping to drive the numbers.

IHL also saw many retailers looking to cut costs and/or take advantage of new services so they were buying new POS units for touch-screens liquid crystal displays (which lower power costs).

Depending on the numbers are crunched, Linux may have helped, especially with enthusiastic Linux support from Pep Boys, Burlington Coat Factory and Circuit City. Linux shipments were flat last year, but it's percent of installed base soared some 44 percent because Linux was replacing some POS based on either MS-DOS or IBM 4690 terminals, IHL President Greg Buzek said in an interview.

"Retailers continue to see the POS as more than just a method for accurately recording sales," Buzek said. "Added functionality at the POS, whether in the form of capabilities like customer returns, inventory look-up, or workforce management, helps retailers see POS as the central system in the store and they are willing to invest in it accordingly."

Buzek also found interesting sharp increases in two Microsoft POS offerings: Windows XP Embedded (which saw shipments increase 242 percent, IHL said) and Windows Embedded for Point of Service (WEPOS), which saw shipments climb by 80 percent.

Buzek said that is interesting because it's so strongly influenced by Microsoft license price, which charges $10 more for WEPOS. "That's why XP Embedded is doing better, even though WEPOS is more flexible," Buzek said.