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Think the person on their phone swerving in the lane ahead of you is annoying? Wait until you’re behind them in the grocery aisle. Smartphones may be the self-service kiosks of the future. Progressive Grocer is reporting North American consumers continue to embrace self-service technology, as transactions at self-service kiosks are set to surpass $740 billion in 2010, according to a new research study conducted by retail technology consulting firm IHL Group.

However, the rate of growth going forward may be tempered in favor of enabling consumer smartphones in the future. “Self-service continues to grow, and clearly, DVD kiosks are driving huge increases in the number of units in the market,” said Greg Buzek, president of Franklin, Tenn.-based IHL. “However, the rise of consumer mobile devices will have an adverse effect on many new kiosk installations within the next two years.”

“The information kiosks will soon give way to the kiosk in the consumer’s pocket, with many consumers already doing price comparison shopping and reading reviews while at the shelf,” added Buzek. “In addition, what is particularly interesting looking forward is that Apple has patents in loyalty and payment technologies. It is foreseeable that transactions even in the retail environment could be scanned and transacted through the mobile device rather than a stationary self-checkout.”

In the market study, “2010 North American Self-Service Kiosks,” IHL examines 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 and other retail kiosks.

The report covers self-service kiosks in the United States and Canada, detailing the number and type of kiosks shipped historically. It also provides forecasts for each type of kiosk, both in terms of units shipped and revenue transacted. In addition, the report highlights best practices and best-in-class machines for each class of kiosk.


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