(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

1 in 7 Albertans have been tested for COVID-19

56 additional cases Thursday, 1,107 active cases remain in the province

Sylvan Lake man’s documentary getting limited run in Alberta theatres

Scott McDermott’s documentary will be in 14 theatres, including Sylvan Lake and Wetaskiwin

UPDATE: Thorsby RCMP investigate August long weekend shooting

Thorsby RCMP charge youth in relation to the late night shooting.

Seven vying to lead ECN

Challengers to incumbent include NGCI president

Two females arrested for carjacking in Leduc; sword and bear spray used as weapon

Wetaskiwin and Maskwacis female arrested for carjacking.

Protestors for Indigenous Lives Matter gather in Wetaskiwin

Protestors for Indigenous Lives Matter gathered in Wetaskiwin, Alta. Tuesday August 4,… Continue reading

Answers to 5 common questions facing families for the COVID-19 school year

COVID-19 protocols are likely to vary even more at the school board level, and even and school-to-school.

Other communities can learn from Sexsmith: AUMA president

Alberta Urban Municipalities Association is an advocacy group for urban municipalities

Proposed oil and gas assessment changes could have big impact on municipal revenues

Croup representing urban municipalities is concerned about the outcome

‘Do our lives count for less?’: COVID-19 exposes cracks in disability aid

In July, Parliament approved a $600 payment for people with disabilities facing additional expenses during COVID-19

Alberta man’s body recovered from Okanagan Lake after five-day search

‘The depth of the water, as well as the topography of the lake, made the recovery of the deceased very challenging’ - RCMP

Feds look to finalize deal with airlines amid contact tracing concerns

Feds look to finalize deal with airlines amid contact tracing concerns

Dwindling B.C. bamboo supply leaves Calgary Zoo biologists worried about pandas

Zoo has been trying to send pandas back to China since May

Booking.com cuts workforce by thousands as travel atrophies

Booking.com cuts workforce by thousands as travel atrophies

Most Read