Pent-up Demand Drives Recovery in EPOS Shipments

Activity in the global EPOS market bounces back, as retailers return to refreshing their hardware following a difficult 2020

EPOS shipments rise as pandemic restrictions ease

2021 marked a year of recovery for the global programmable EPOS market, with shipments increasing by 18%, according to Global EPOS and Self-Checkout 2022, the latest study by strategic research and consulting firm RBR. More than two million units were delivered, as countries around the world began to lift COVID-19 restrictions, encouraging retailers to resume postponed projects.

Large-scale replacements in hospitality and grocery sectors

The hospitality sector saw the strongest recovery, with shipments up by 29%. The industry had been hit hard by the pandemic, with many operators temporarily closing outlets and limiting sit down dining to comply with lockdown requirements. The easing of restrictions in 2021 helped restaurant chains to switch focus from “survival mode” and move forward with delayed hardware refreshes.

Grocery retailers continued to implement replacement projects last year, although the increase in activity was less spectacular than in the hospitality sector, as supermarkets and drugstores had remained open during the strictest COVID-19 restrictions the year before. The recovery in hardware investment by general merchandise retailers was weaker, as a result of the shift to online commerce which was most pronounced among fashion retailers.

Shipments to North America bounce back

North America saw a strong recovery, driven by the USA’s sizeable hospitality market. The USA alone represented more than a quarter of global EPOS shipments. Shipments to Europe also bounced back as retailers in major markets such as the UK and France undertook postponed hardware replacement projects.

The world’s largest region for EPOS shipments, Asia-Pacific, saw a more modest recovery, although the region had been less impacted by the pandemic than others. Activity was quick to rebound in China, after only a small dip in the first year of the pandemic, while refreshes by some of Australia’s largest retailers also boosted deliveries.

In addition to returning EPOS investment in the largest regions, activity also increased in the burgeoning Middle East and Africa thanks to strong growth in South Africa and UAE.

Demand in developing countries to drive growth

EPOS shipments are expected to surpass pre-pandemic levels in 2023 as markets continue to recover from COVID-19’s economic impact. The ongoing expansion of the retail sector in Asia-Pacific is forecast to drive growth in the long term, with increasing demand also expected in Latin America and the Middle East and Africa.

Alan Burt, who led RBR’s Global EPOS and Self-Checkout 2022 research, remarked: “Despite the growth in self-service solutions, point-of-sale terminals remain a core element of retailers’ store technologies as they seek advanced systems to best serve their customers”.

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