The number of checkout-free contactless stores around the world increased from 87 in 2020 to 252 in 2021 and will rise by more than 90% a year to exceed 12,000 by the end of 2027, according to Retail Banking Research (RBR).
The growth in the number of stores with checkout-free systems using technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), computer vision, weight sensors and smart carts will be strongest in the USA, China and large European markets, with other regions across the world also expected to see expansion following successful pilot schemes, the researchers predict.
“Amazon has the largest number of checkout-free stores globally, mostly in the USA and the UK, with plans for expansion in these markets and others,” the researchers say.
“In addition, start-ups have been opening concept stores to showcase their own checkout-free technology.
“To date, checkout-free stores have mainly been small in scale, with cart-based technology deployed in larger supermarket formats.”
Amazon unveiled its checkout-free Just Walk Out system in December 2016 and began selling the technology to other retailers in March 2020, while UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s implemented the solution in one of its London stores in December 2021.
Ahold Delhaize began piloting a cashierless system in the USA in November 2019, Rewe opened a checkout-free supermarket in Germany in May 2021 and Tesco opened its first store without checkouts in London in October 2021.