Half of shoppers are less likely to visit a checkout-free store despite their growing popularity.
Just over a third (36%) of shoppers are much less likely to visit a store they use regularly if it went checkout free, exclusive research for Retail Week carried out by Walnut Unlimited shows.
Of the 2,000 shoppers surveyed, another 15% said they would be a little less likely.
Just 5% said they would be much more likely and 10% said they would be a little more likely to shop there.
Checkout-free stores have become a reality with Amazon opening Amazon Go stores in the US and Sainsbury’s and M&S both trialling technology that allows shoppers to use an app to scan goods as they shop rather than queuing afterwards.
“This marks the start of a seismic change for in-store,” said Walnut Unlimited research director Amy Nichols. “However, a note of caution is essential. While cashless payments are possible (and valued) by many, others do not have access to the technology required or an inclination to use, therefore risk being excluded from the retail in-store environment of the future.”
The data showed a clear generational divide between consumers, with older shoppers more likely to avoid a store they visited regularly if it went checkout-free. However, 25% of 18-to-24-year-olds and 34% of 25-to-34-year-olds felt the same way.
Just over half (55%) of over-75s said they would always prefer to use a staffed checkout and 74% would be much less likely to visit a regular store if it went checkout-free.
Under-25s were most likely to embrace technology, with 58% saying they would prefer to use a self-checkout and 72% willing to download a payment app. Nearly half (45%) said they would be more likely to visit a store they shopped at regularly if it went checkout-free.
More than half (53%) of smartphone users would consider downloading a checkout-free app, though 37% said they would not. However, of that 53%, 69% said they would only consider it for shops they visited regularly, while 31% said they would download it for any store.
Overall, 60% of shoppers prefer a manned checkout, while 28% prefer a self-service till.
Unsurprisingly, those who are more open to self-checkouts are also more likely to download a checkout app. Over two-thirds (68%) of those who prefer self-checkouts said they would download an app versus just 47% of those who prefer manned checkouts.
Consumers said they were most keen to see checkout-free supermarkets, with 49% of shoppers enthusiastic about a checkout-free option in this type of retailer.
Just over one-fifth (22%) of shoppers said they would like the option at department stores, while just 19% said they valued the option at a health and beauty retailer. Nearly a third of shoppers (31%) did not want a self-checkout option at any type of retailer.
Shoppers in the South East were more likely to embrace checkout-free stores, with 60% willing to download a payment app, compared with 53% nationwide. This makes the region the best testing ground for new technology.