Majority of UK consumers use self-checkouts to some degree, NCR study finds


The majority of UK consumers – 89% – use self-checkouts to some degree, according to a survey of shoppers in nine countries by NCR Corporation, a global leader in consumer transaction technologies.

NCR found 39% of shoppers agree that retailers offering the technology provide better customer service, over a fifth (22%) disagreed and 39% were indifferent.

Overall UK consumers expressed a preference to also see self-checkouts in supermarkets, but also discount department stores, convenience stores, DIY retailers and bookstores in the future, researchers found.

The study provides further evidence that self-checkout technology has become more established and accepted in the mainstream, providing value to both consumers and retailers alike, said NCR. Shoppers appreciate the convenience and speed of retail self-checkout, the company claims. Retailers are responding to consumer demand and usage, and the loyalty and impact on the bottom line that the technology can drive in-store.

NCR commissioned the NPD Group to survey more than 2,800 consumers in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, Spain, UK and the US for the 2014 self-checkout survey results. Key findings in the UK include:

  • Of the 89% of UK consumers who said they used self-checkout, 68% said it was when they had just a few items, 49% when they thought the cashier lines were too long and 42% when they were in a hurry
  • When asked if retailers offering the technology provide better customer service, 39% of UK shoppers ‘strongly agree’ or ‘agree’, 22% disagree, while 39% were on the fence
  • When asked what they liked about self-checkout, consumers’ top three responses were convenience (44%), simplicity (40%) and speed of self-checkout technology in comparison to cashier assisted lines (32%)
  • When asked where shoppers would most like to have access to SCO, the top responses were grocery stores (64%), mass merchants (49%), discount department stores (34%), DIY stores (34%) and convenience stores (32%)
  • When consumers were asked what could be done to improve self-checkout, the top four suggestions included a larger bagging area (53%), an attendant always available to assist (43%), making it easier to purchase produce sold by weight (35%) and making it easier to scan bulky or heavy items (27%)
  • Of the 11% of UK consumers polled who never use SCO, 61% prefer cashier assistance and 31% also feel like they are doing the work for the retailer

“With self-checkout installations forecast to grow 83% in Western Europe between 2013 and 2018, the trend supports our findings that self-checkout technology is providing value to many consumers and major retailers in the region,” said Dusty Lutz, general manager self-checkout solutions at NCR Retail Division. “Our research in the UK confirms this trend with 89% of those polled in UK using self-checkouts to some degree, and nearly half of them associating self-checkout technology with better customer service.”