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Women could lose 4.1 lbs simply by avoiding impulse items at the checkout
July 1, 2008
The average American woman could lose 4.1 lbs a year simply from resisting the urge to purchase impulse items such as chocolate candies, chips, and soda once they are in the checkout line, according to a new study from IHL Consulting Group. This was an ancillary finding from IHLs Self-Checkout Study, which researched consumers and their impulse purchases at staffed and self-checkout devices.

"The average woman in the study claimed to purchase and consume over 14,300 calories from calorie impulse items over the period of a year (3,500 calories per pound)," Buzek said. "While women have an overall higher average, men under the age of 25 years old are the heaviest consumers of caloric impulse items, consuming enough calories each year for an additional eight lbs!"

According to the study, self-checkout systems have a dramatic impact on the purchase of impulse items at checkout. Impulse purchases among women drop 32.1 percent and men 16.7 percent when self-checkout is used instead of a staffed checkout. The primary cause of the drop, according to the study, comes from the fact that self-checkout devices are not as merchandised as staffed lanes in most retailers. Additionally, there is usually a shorter line at each unit, removing the captive audience with the tempting impulse items in front of them.

In the market study, 2007 North American Self-Checkout Systems, IHL examines the consumer acceptance of self-checkout technologies, what consumers like and dislike about the systems, and what impact they have on their shopping behavior. A summary of the results is available at www.ihlservices.com.

Some additional key findings of the study include the following:
  • In 2006, consumers spent over $137 billion on self-checkout transactions at retailers, up 24 percent from the previous year.
  • Consumers in the South are the most positive about self-checkout, with 75 percent having a positive view about the technology.
  • A positive view of self-checkout technology is formed over a rather short period of time. Of those who have used self-checkout at least six times, 86 percent have a positive view of the technology.
  • Sixteen percent of the sample said they would be more likely to use self-checkout if they could pick the voice of a person to guide them through it. Most popular:
    • 21 percent selected Tom Brokaw or Walter Cronkite;
    • 13 percent preferred that movie trailer guy (Don LaFontaine) "In a world where apples cost $.99 a pound and Tide is on sale for $4.99";
    • 12 percent selected Darth Vader.

About IHL Consulting Group
IHL Consulting Group is a global research and advisory firm headquartered in Franklin, Tenn., that provides market analysis and business consulting services for retailers and information technology companies that focus on the retail industry. For more information, see www.ihlservices.com, call 615-591-2955 or e-mail ihl@ihlservices.com.

For press interviews, contact:

Jeff Ketner
KetnerBarnes Inc.
(512) 794-8876

(C) 2009 IHL Services, Inc. All Rights Reserved.