It's true that some retailers, including Big Y and Albertson's, have recently scaled back self-checkout, but they're in the minority, according to a study published this week by RBR, which found that 2011 shipments of self-checkout terminals grew to a high of 26,700 — seven times the number shipped a decade earlier. The London-based research firm also forcasts that by 2017 annual shipment numbers will be approaching 60,000.
North American retailers, especially, are jumping on the self-checkout bandwagon: The continent replaced western Europe as the largest region for self-checkout shipments in 2011, accounting for 41 percent of the global total. U.S. retailers started piloting self-checkout in the 1990s, and the kiosks now account for two-thirds of points-of-sale in U.S. supermarkets, and at least a quarter of supermarket transactions are now conducted at self-checkouts, according the the study.
While North America, western Europe and Asia-Pacific still account for the vast majority (98 percent) of installations, there have also been developments elsewhere, according to RBR. For example, Saudi Arabia recently deployed its first self-checkout installation, and while Poland and the Czech Republic were the main recipients of the shipments to the central Europe and Russia region, the renewed activity in Russia was also significant. More interest in self-checkout was also seen in Latin America.
Wincor Nixdorf and Fujitsu increasing self-checkout deployments
The study also noted that although NCR is still the world's largest vendor of self-checkout terminals, accounting for 64 percent of global shipments in 2011, Wincor Nixdorf saw its share of world shipments jump from 12 to 16 percent, while Fujitsu witnessed an increase in market share from 10 to 13 percent. IBM is the smallest of the large self-checkout vendors with 5 percent.
The study, which covers 52 countries, also reported that there are at least nine other vendors of self-checkout systems, although their combined share of global shipments amounts to just 2 percent.
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