Dive Brief:

  • Signaling that mobile checkout is gaining popularity, a new report from the consulting firm RBR estimates that the number of stores offering mobile self-scanning globally will reach 160,000 by 2027, up from 46,000 in 2021 and 36,600 in 2020.
  • Last year, 10,000 stores internationally began offering mobile self-scanning, allowing shoppers to scan items on their own mobile device or on a device provided by the retailer, according to the report.
  • European countries, including the U.K., France and the Netherlands, have been driving the growth in mobile self-scanning technology adoption. However, more U.S. retailers have been adding these tools as well.

Dive Insight:

While many retailers create their own mobile self-scanning technology, some also work with third-party providers such as Skip, WeChat, Alipay or GK Software, RBR said in its report. Zebra, a U.S.-based self-scanning technology provider, accounts for over 80% of hardware installations.

Grocery store chains in mature markets will continue to expand mobile self-tech to additional stores, while other sectors will increasingly use the tech, including gas station convenience stores, homeware and clothing stores. 

“Mobile self-scanning is expected to expand strongly, to a more diverse range of retailers and to new geographies,” Alex Maple, the senior research analyst who led RBR’s Mobile Self-Scanning and Checkout-Free 2022 research, said in a statement. “Whether it is scanning items using a smartphone or a handheld retailer-provided device, reducing friction and enhancing the shopping experience remains a key aim.”

The report called attention to 7-Eleven’s rollout of mobile self-scanning at about 3,000 locations in the U.S. The convenience retailer integrated the service into its loyalty program and planned to make it available at all of its stores by the end of 2022. Other retailers, including Sam’s Club and Wegmans, have also introduced mobile checkout features before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Though the coronavirus pandemic has entered a new phase, retailers are continuing to offer more self-checkout services for shoppers. In May, Dollar General began testing self-checkout at 200 locations with plans to expand the service to more storefronts by the end of this year. Last week, Best Buy announced plans to build small format stores with a mobile checkout option, QR codes for desk pickup, and product advice from employees via livestream.