Exclusive: Americans don’t want more tech in their shopping experience

We teamed up with Harris Poll to figure out what tech consumers actually use.

By KATISHI MAAKE | Morning Brew | June 21, 2021

From pay-by-palm to virtual fitting rooms, retailers are investing $$$ in innovations that streamline the shopping experience. But are consumers even using the shiny new tech?

To find out, Retail Brew teamed up with Harris Poll to run an exclusive, nationally representative survey of 1,993 US adults.

Quick and clean

Self-checkout, which has been around for years, feels conventional at this point. So it’s not a huge surprise that 71% of those surveyed said they’ve used it while shopping, and 70% said it makes the shopping experience easier.

But what about frictionless shopping—like an Amazon Go store where you walk in…and just walk right out, snacks in hand? That’s been hailed as the store of the future, but just 26% of our respondents said they’ve shopped somewhere with fully automated checkout.

  • That breaks down along age lines: Nearly half (48%) of millennials have, versus only 6% of boomers.

Looking at other futuristic tech, there’s an even longer road to adoption:

  • 25% of respondents have used QR codes when shopping
  • 19% have used smart vending machines
  • 10% have used a virtual fitting room
  • Only 8% have used biometric pay (like fingerprint or palm scanning)

Keep it simple: 30% of respondents said they want more technology integrated in their shopping experience, while a majority (57%) either want less or for it to stay the same.

Back to reality

As the country reopens, shoppers are ready for all things IRL.

  • 64% of respondents said they do most of their shopping in person, compared to 43% in March, when we asked the same question.
  • Younger consumers are more likely to shop online; 50% of our millennial respondents and 45% of Gen Zers do so, as opposed to 37% of Gen X and 22% of boomers.

The takeaway: Retailers are rushing to innovate, but consumers are slow to adopt new habits. Even a pandemic-driven novelty like curbside pickup isn’t as popular: Only 18% of respondents said they’ve used it.—KM

Read the full story at Morning Brew.