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Self service transactions to surpass $1.7 trillion by 2012

Published on: 2015-02-05

According to Supermarket.co.za (I'm sure there was another source, but this one popped up on the radar first):

Transactions at self-service kiosks will surpass US$607 billion this year in North America, and are expected to triple by 2012 to over $1.7 trillion, according to a new research study.

The study, conducted by the IHL Group, examined the increasing use of six types of self-service kiosks where payment is accepted: self-checkout systems, ticketing kiosks, check-in kiosks, food ordering, postal systems and other retail kiosks. IHL lead retail analyst Lee Holman said it was expected that there would be double-digit growth in the revenue generated by self-service transactions for the foreseeable future. "The results of this study confirm what we've been seeing for the past several years, namely, that consumers are showing a preference for self-service kiosk activity of all kinds. The benefit to retailers is that this technology can significantly increase customer loyalty, as well as customer satisfaction."

Holman added that the devices are also a hedge against increasing expenses during a tough economic climate. "They allow retailers to schedule their labour resources for high-volume periods without sacrificing service during non-peak times."

The new research study, 2008 North American Self-Service Kiosks, is available online at www.ihlservices.com.

Our take:

The hedge against increasing (labor-related) expenses might be the sleeper note of the press release. Though mentioned as an afterthought, it's well known that the airline industry has noted massive labor-related savings thanks to their adoption of self check-in kiosks. The same will be true anywhere else where people are currently performing the same mind-numbing tasks that an electronic kiosk and a self-service oriented consumer could more easily do themselves.

As for the 1.7 trillion dollar number, we're unsure as to exactly how that's calculated, though there are more thorough details in the complete report.  Needless to say, though, this is a nontrivial portion of the total GDP, and between online purchases and those transactions completed at self-service terminals, it would seem like human beings are handling an ever decreasing portion of revenue-generating transactions.


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