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What attracts younger shoppers to kiosks?

A new study suggests certain products would boost spending by young consumers if they were placed in vending machines and other unattended channels. 

“The Future of Unattended Retail” study from Pymnts and USA Technologies finds that millennial and Gen Z consumers are especially likely to shop unattended channels, such as vending machines and kiosks, if retailers are using them to sell non-traditional items.

According to the study, 30% of overall respondents said they would buy more items, and about 25% would spend more money, if non-traditional items were offered through unattended channels. However, 35% of millennials and 29% of Gen Z would be willing to spend more if non-traditional products were offered.

The vast majority of participants who expressed interest in buying non-traditional products via vending machines and kiosks said that they would be interested in purchasing health (82%) and beauty (64%) items from a vending machine or kiosk if they were to be offered today. Although every generation ranked health and beauty products highest, a leading 61% of millennials and 59% of Gen Z would be willing to buy clothing and accessories through vending machines and kiosks.

Half of millennials and 48% of Gen Z would buy books from an unattended channel, and 43% of millennials and 32% of Gen Z would buy magazines. These figures lagged the percentages of Gen X, baby boomer, and senior respondents who would purchase books and/or magazines from kiosks and vending machines.

The survey found that food and beverage items were named as the most popular products for vending machines and kiosks, purchased by more than half of the participants in the three months prior to the survey. 

Overall, 34% of respondents prefer to pay at vending machines and kiosks using credit cards compared to 24% who prefer debit cards, with mobile payments like PayPal (10%), Apple Pay (4%) and Google Pay (2%) much lower. However, for Gen Z, mobile payment options such as Google Pay (37%) and Apple Pay (23%) rank high compared to cash (21%), debit cards (16%), and credit cards (4%). 

Millennials were similarly interested in mobile payment options with 64% preferring a merchant’s mobile app, and 50% preferring Apple Pay. Nevertheless, preferences for debit cards (25%), credit cards (38%) and cash (41%) were higher than Gen Z.

Other significant findings of the survey include:
•    When considering what made respondents use unattended retail options in the recent past, speed of use was the most popular response across generations with 33% of Gen Z, 55% of millennials, 52% of Gen X and 42% of seniors and baby boomers ranking it a top reason. 

•    Not having to talk to employees ranked highly across all generations but Gen X (27%), as 41% of Generation Z, 38% of millennials and 35% of seniors and baby boomers ranked it as an important factor. 

•    37% of Gen Z ranked enjoying using new technology as important, significantly higher than the 20% of millennials, 17% of Gen X and 12% of seniors and baby boomers who said the same.
•    40% of percent overall respondents noted that a key reason for unattended use was the lack of other methods for purchase.

Pymnts surveyed 2,325 U.S. consumers about their experiences when shopping via unattended retail channels and their interest in using them going forward.

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