(The Canadian Press)

VIDEO: Shoppers like self-checkout lanes at the grocery store, survey suggests

Grocery Experience National Survey Report suggests most grocery shoppers spend 32 minutes per visit

A new survey suggests most grocery shoppers spend 32 minutes per visit and approve of those automated self-checkout lanes.

The study out of Halifax’s Dalhousie University underscores that the “worst part” of shopping for many consumers is waiting for a cashier, says lead investigator and professor Sylvain Charlebois, who predicted even more grocery technology is on the horizon.

The management professor says he was surprised shoppers spent such little time per visit and shopped only 1.29 times a week, noting that’s less time and less frequent than similar studies on U.S. shoppers.

At the same time, it seems self-checkouts are becoming increasingly popular, with 25.1 per cent of shoppers “strongly agreeing” and 29.6 per cent “somewhat agreeing” that they are a good idea. Another 20.3 per cent were indifferent.

The Grocery Experience National Survey Report took place over three days in October 2018, and surveyed a controlled sample of 1,053 people online in both English and French. The margin of error is 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Charlebois said the study encompassed stores that dedicate the majority of their footprint to food, including chain supermarkets, small independents, butchers and bakeries. The findings were set to be released Tuesday.

READ MORE: B.C. wine industry disappointed over USMCA-related grocery store sales changes

He said shoppers seem to like variety, with the average Canadian noting they regularly visit at least two different stores.

“It’s certainly good news for competition, for independents (and) small stores. I suspect that Canadians are curious, they want to go to a place where they can find lots of different products,” he said, adding that the survey did not ask about the types of store most frequented.

Consumers also said they want more human interaction, which seemed to run counter to an apparent affinity for self-checkout. But it could just come down to the type of staff interaction they want, said Charlebois.

“The end of their experience, which is probably the worst part of grocery shopping — paying for your food, waiting in line, reading the first page of the National Enquirer — those are things people just don’t want to do,” said Charlebois, whose study found 11.1 per cent of respondents always use self-checkout, and 54.9 per cent occasionally use self-checkout.

“But when there is a situation where there’s some confusion, or consumers are a little bit lost, they want that human interaction. That’s why that assistance factor seems to be quite high.”

Still, he notes increasing automation runs the risk of pushing consumers out of the store in favour of online shopping.

“There’s a bit of a balance there. As a grocer you want to humanize the experience because that’s something you can’t replicate online,” he said. “And the other thing you cannot replicate online, which is actually making grocers lose sleep at night, is impulse buying.”

About half of the respondents, 49.4 per cent, said they had never bought groceries online and were not planning to, while another 34.3 per cent said they were considering it.

Canada’s first self-checkout lane appeared in 2000, when the technology was somewhat cumbersome, said Charlebois.

Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Okanagan whisky lottery adds new twists

Winners of Okanagan Spirits’ Laird of Fintry lottery announced in four batches beginning Sept. 28

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

United Way celebrates seven decades of impact in Southern Interior

Organization sees issues with poverty, mental health and addictions, heighten during the pandemic

Primary Care Networks coming for Okanagan Nation Alliance communities

New partnerships will provide Syilx members with better, culturally-safe primary care

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

Crash halts traffic along Highway 97 near Peachland

Highway 97 is closed for 4.4 kilometres between Brent Road and Renfrew Road

A (virtual) walk around the world by 88-year-old B.C. man

George Doi says it’s simple: ‘I like walking’

End of CERB means uncertainty for some, new system for others

As of a week ago, the CERB had paid out $79.3 billion to 8.8 million people

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

West Kelowna Warriors complete sweep of Vernon Vipers

Warriors edge Snakes 2-1 as Okanagan Cup BCHL exhibition tournament begins

Horgan, Wilkinson trade barbs over MSP premiums, health care at campaign stops

Horgan called a snap election for Oct. 24 earlier this week

Public input sharpens vision of Oyama Ithmus Park

Proposed project to shape the long-term future of waterfront land in Lake Country

COVID-19 outbreak declared at Kelowna church service

Attendees of Calvary Chapel Kelowna’s Sept. 13 morning service may have been exposed

Most Read