Retail in Asia


Study shows half of Hong Kong consumers prefer unmanned stores

The network video solutions house Axis Communications released a report  on “Consumer Preferences Towards Unmanned Store Experiences” based on the findings  from Hong Kong Retail Research 2022. Milieu Insight was commissioned by Axis Communications to poll Hong Kong customers on their preferences for physical shopping in the post-pandemic age, as well as their expectations of unmanned stores. A total of 1,000 Hong Kong consumers took part in the poll.

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In the post-pandemic era, customers in Hong Kong were less likely to visit or shop at physical stores, according to the study. This applies to all types of establishments, including high-end restaurants, pharmacies, and grocery stores, as well as supermarkets, convenience stores, shopping malls, and department stores.

In the new normal post-pandemic era, Hong Kong consumers’ intention to shop at physical stores has decreased by 14 percent compared to the pre-pandemic era. Almost half of the respondents (47 percent) said they prefer to shop in unmanned stores, which are physical establishments with little to no employees. This shows that, if social distancing and contactless protocols are integrated into operations, customers today may consider unmanned stores as safer places to visit.

In addition, self-checkouts are a crucial feature for unmanned stores (66 percent), and longer opening hours are also among the top perceived benefits, according to shoppers in Hong Kong. Unmanned stores should have automatic entry/exit using QR codes, according to 44 percent, and 46 percent believe that the less human interaction is a crucial safety benefit.

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“Consumer preferences towards health, safety, and convenience are driving the rapid adoption of contactless experiences, and are likely to form the new brick and mortar retail reality. As retailers pivot to meet consumer needs, we foresee an increased rollout of unmanned stores across Hong Kong in line with Blueprint 2.0, Hong Kong’s smart city roadmap,” said Regina Shang, Sales Director at Axis Hong Kong. “Whether fully or partially unmanned, these stores rely on various technologies and automation such as artificial intelligence (AI), QR code authentication, and intelligent video cameras to function. These technologies will be essential to support key functions of unmanned stores – self-checkout, movement tracking, security, and security in order to deliver safe customer retail experiences.”