Shipments of self-checkout systems rang up record numbers in 2013, driven in part by Walmart's (NYSE:WMT) increased use of the systems.
The global market grew 24 percent in 2013, while North America drove the increase, contributing three quarters of the growth owing to a large-scale rollout by Walmart in the United States, according to London-based strategic research and consulting firm RBR Research.
While the "traditional" self-checkout, where the consumer scans, bags and pays for their goods, is still the most common type of solution, mobile scanning with store-provided devices is gaining ground. This is especially true in Western Europe, and could be a precursor to new smartphone-based mobile checkout solutions.
Tunnel scanning devices are also on the upswing. These allow shoppers to simply place items on a conveyor belt, and an entire cartful of goods is scanned as it passes through a tunnel and is then funneled into one of multiple bagging and payment areas. These allow more than one shopper to use the lane at once.
U.S. retailers including Meijer are testing these types of self-checkout systems, while Asda and Edeka in the U.K. and Germany are testing similar systems. But self-checkout his hardly a runaway success. Several retailers, including many Albertsons-owned stores, have done away with self-checkout.
Supermarkets are still the most common channel of retail to use self-checkout systems, but this is beginning to change according to RBR Research. New, smaller-footprint machines are popping up in convenience stores in Asia Pacific, and cashless machines which accept card payments only make it easier to implement self-checkout in more locations.
-See this RBR Research report
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