Retail kiosk payment preferences start to shift
With Christmas approaching, the United Kingdom's retail outlets stand to benefit from research findings that show how British consumers are embracing new methods of payment, with 80% of shoppers saying they are happy to use kiosks and vending machines for their purchases.
The survey of 1,000 British consumers, commissioned by payment solutions provider, Ingenico, looked specifically at three areas when using a kiosk or vending machine: the maximum amount willing to be spent on a single purchase, what type of goods consumers would be happy to buy, and what the preferred method of payment would be.
According to Ingenico, the UK is now starting to catch up with the US, where usage of kiosks and vending machines is already widespread. Electronic voting kiosks, for example, proved popular for the 2008 US presidential election, and consumer electronics such as MP3 players and digital cameras are now widely available from vending machines in US airports.
At the same time, in Japan, although the majority of vending machines are stocked with drinks and snacks, vending machines are also now increasingly selling alcohol, fried food, and even potted plants. (It is perhaps no surprise that Japan has the highest number of vending machines per capita: 1 machine for every 23 people!)
British consumers are increasingly retail technology-savvy, with 83.5% of respondents being happy to use kiosks and vending machines. However, according to Gregor Rankin, marketing manager for Ingenico, "Shoppers are still a little wary and, although they're happy to use vending machines for low value items, they still shy away from expensive goods and are perhaps less confident than consumers in the US or Japan."
When it comes to how much money a British consumer is willing to put into a vending machine, nearly two-thirds of respondents were comfortable paying up to £2 in a vending machine, while £5 was generally accepted as the maximum spend. Only 1% said they would spend over £10. The more cautious consumers (16.5% of them) said they would still rather not use kiosks or vending machines at all.
The research also assessed the different ways in which UK shoppers can pay for goods from vending machines, from coins and notes to debit or credit cards, through to mobile phones. Although coins are still overwhelmingly the most popular means of payment (96%), more than one-third (34.5%) prefer debit or credit cards. Almost one in ten consumers (9.9%) said they were happy to use their mobile phone for payment, suggesting that British shoppers are increasingly confident with new and more convenient payment methods.