Self-Checkout Revolution Ramps Up

More than half of the 175,000 self-checkout units shipped globally last year were cashless.

July 07, 2021

Woman Using Self-Checkout

LONDON—A surge in activity at pan-European and domestic grocery chains 2020 saw another record year of investment in self-checkout technology, with shipments increasing by 25% globally, according to the new RBR study, Global EPOS and Self-Checkout 2021, RBR said.

The COVID-19 pandemic further accelerated retailers’ investment in self-service solutions, helping reduce close interaction between customers and store associates. Across Europe, retailers rolled out units across their store networks. Grocery chains including Carrefour, Lidl and Kaufland continue to invest heavily in the technology, installing machines across the continent. Likewise, domestic supermarket banners including Russia’s Pyaterochka and Poland’s Biedronka ramped up their self-checkout rollouts. AiFi in tandem with Żabka introduced an unmanned convenience store with self-checkout.

Self-checkout penetrates new sectors in North America, while cashless boosts Asia. Mainstream grocers in North America continue to expand self-checkout offerings, but the technology is also increasingly offered by other types of retailers, including discounters, convenience stores and pharmacy chains.

Major firms rolling out terminals include variety store chain Dollarama in Canada and CVS drugstores in the United States. Convenience stores are also increasing the number of self-checkout options. Delek DK, a convenience store chain based in the U.S. Southwest, is rolling out AI-based cashierless checkout technology at more than 70 Texas locations by the end of this summer, while South Carolina-based Spinx Company has started piloting a convenient self-checkout program.

The research shows that increasingly retailers are installing cashless self-checkout terminals, which represented 55% of global shipments last year. Asia-Pacific has the highest penetration of noncash units and saw activity jump by a third, boosted by China’s leading retail groups such as Suning and CR Vanguard rolling out self-checkout terminals to more locations. For example, FamilyMart is trialing unmanned checkout.

In well-established markets, such as Australia, retailers are replacing previous generation cash units with compact card-only machines, while in cash-heavy Japan, major convenience store chains continue to adopt full self-checkout solutions.

To learn more about the benefits of having self-checkout available for customers, read “Faster Checkout with Fewer Staff” in NACS Magazine.