The insight: Over half (53%) of Gen Z and millennial shoppers prefer self-checkout over traditional manned registers, according to a recent survey by NCR Voyix.
- Shoppers prefer the technology’s speed, as well as shorter lines and the ability to bag their own items.
- A separate survey by Avery Dennison found that 52% of Gen Zs would switch retailers for checkout-free stores, showing how important a frictionless shopping—and checkout—experience is for the cohort.
Love it or hate it: Self-checkout is proving to be a polarizing issue. While some consumers—most notably younger ones—view it as a must-have, others see it as a nuisance that turns routine shopping trips into frustrating ordeals.
- Retailers themselves are also divided, given that the technology has largely not resulted in significant labor savings and is contributing to an uptick in theft.
- Some, like Target and Dollar General, are walking back their investments. After adding self-checkout stations to over half of its 19,000 stores, Dollar General is now making the technology a “secondary” checkout option, while Target is trialing basket limits at select stores to reduce wait times.
The big takeaway: While there are clear issues with self-checkout, getting rid of the option entirely isn’t the answer given the technology’s popularity with consumers looking for maximum convenience.
- Instead, retailers should offer a hybrid approach that allows shoppers to choose their preferred checkout options, and make sure they have enough staff on hand to man registers as well as provide assistance in the self-checkout lane.