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Mobile POS: Reaching Escape Velocity – All Systems Go


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Product Overview

Date of PublicationJune 5, 2014
FormatElectronic PDF
GeographyNorth America

Mobile in retail is now a $7.8 Billion business worldwide and one that continues to grow rapidly. In fact, it is the single fastest moving trend in retail since Internet was added to the stores. Mobile and the buzz about Mobile in Retail has been increasing ever since Apple began using it in their stores. Of the various store functions that can be performed using Mobile technology, one of the most interesting is that of Mobile POS. This report looks at the current state of Mobile POS in North America, the adoption rates of the various retail verticals, and the shipment and installed base details by type of device (Rugged Handheld, Non-Rugged Handheld, and Tablets). We also provide forecasts for shipments and installed base of these devices, as well as an estimate of the impact that these devices will have on the use of traditional POS hardware. From the C-Level on down, the buzz about Mobile in Retail has been increasing ever since Apple began using it in their stores. Retailers desire the same experience and the same throughput, and one of the most attractive functions they see is the use of handheld devices for Mobile POS. The use of Tablets (such as the iPad) is especially pertinent, since double-digit growth in shipments of these devices for Mobile POS use will be the norm for the foreseeable future.

This report looks at the current state of Mobile POS, the adoption rates of the various retail verticals, and the shipment and installed base details by type of device (Rugged Handheld, Non-Rugged Handheld, and Tablet). We also provide forecasts for shipments and installed base of these devices, as well as an estimate of the impact that these devices will have on the use of traditional POS hardware. We also provide some operational insight on the issues that retailers face in incorporating these devices into their stores (for instance, do you know about “Momma Duck Syndrome” or the “Teenager Syndrome”?).

This study is designed for use by Mobile POS Hardware and Software Providers, Maintenance Providers, Retailers and others who might have a vested interest in the North American Mobile Point-of-Sale Market.

Note, this study does not include share by vendor. For this information we recommend our Mobile POS by Vendor data service where we track the number of devices shipped by Apple, HP, Toshiba, Motorola, and others.

The study looks at the opportunity for each of the mobile devices as well as the impact on POS terminals for the following segments:

Superstore/Warehouse Club
Mass Merchandisers
Department Stores
Other Specialty
Category Killers
Bar Restaurant
Fast Food
Ent. Casino-Cruise
Ent. Theme, Theaters, Sports



Background and Objectives

1.0 Mobile POS Trends

1.1 Foundations
1.2 Where Exactly Are Retailers With Mobile POS?
1.3 Integration with Existing POS
1.4 Did Retailers Forget Their Employees?
1.5 What Else Do Retailers Need to Consider?
1.6 Is Mobile POS a Panacea?

2.0 Apps & Platforms

2.1 Whose Mobile POS App Will Retailers Use?
2.2 Do Retailers Have a Preferred Device Size?
2.3 Which Platforms are Supported?
2.4 Does the Device Need Beefing Up?

3.0 North America Market Size and Growth

3.1 Rugged Handhelds
3.2 Non-Rugged Handhelds / Mobile Phones
3.3 Tablets (Greater than 5)

4.0 Mobile POS Best Practices

4.1 Case Studies
4.2 Customer Acceptance
4.3 Infrastructure
4.4 Reliability and KPIs
4.5 Maintenance and Support

5.0 PCI Compliance Issues

6.0 Impact on Traditional POS

6.1 POS Shipments: Adding to or Replacing?



Figure 1 Who Provides the Mobile POS Solution?
Figure 2 Device Size by Retail Segment
Figure 3 Store Mobility Platforms Under Consideration
Figure 4 Consumer Grade vs Retail Hardened
Figure 5 Rugged Handheld Shipments, Mobile POS
Figure 6 Rugged Handheld Installed Base, Mobile POS
Figure 7 Non-Rugged Handheld Shipments, Mobile POS
Figure 8 Non-Rugged Handheld Installed Base, Mobile POS
Figure 9 Tablet Shipments, Mobile POS
Figure 10 Tablet Installed Base, Mobile POS
Figure 11 Case Study: Apple Stores
Figure 12 Case Study: Perry Ellis
Figure 13 Case Study: Chili’s
Figure 14 Reduced POS HW Purchases Due to Mobile
Figure 15 POS Shipment Cannibalization by Retail Segment

Download Mobile POS Study Outline and Purchase Information






Is this a survey or a comprehensive market view?
It’s both, we have done multiple surveys of retailers, along with their plans, timeframes for replacing POS and merged that together with the overall sizing of the market starting from smaller retailers to the largest of retailers and hospitality establishments.

Does it include forecasts by device type?
Yes, we have a forecast by the type of device (Rugged, Tablets, Consumer devices) but we do not provide a specific forecast of models (for instance iPhone vs Android) in this study.

Does this report include vendor shipment share for Mobile POS?
No, this is included in the Mobile POS by Vendor Data Service where we discuss the number of shipments by Apple, HP, Toshiba, Zebra, and others.

How was the POS Cannibalization decided and forecast?
We do a fairly exhaustive process of looking at 13 different retail segments and then the size of the retailers involved. For instance, 1 store chains are likely to use the Square POS application on an iPad as a startup, but that would be rare for larger retailers in the same segment. So we look at the data within a segment like grocery by 1 store, 2-9 stores, 10-49 stores, 50-100, 101-300, 301-500, 501-1000, and over 1000 stores.

Are IHL Analysts available to present the findings to my management team or user’s group?
Sure, we do speaking engagements all the time. Simply contact us at ihl(at)

Can I share this study in my company?
Yes, each of research products come with an enterprise license so it is free for anyone internal to your organization. See below for more.

Can I share this study with partners and clients?
Not in entirety unless you have negotiated a distribution license with IHL. Basically we don’t want the study going to partners and clients who should otherwise purchase a license. This is what we do for a living, and if people violate this we can no longer do the research. Contact us at ihl(at) with any questions.

Can I quote this study in my presentations and press releases?
In most cases this is fine but we ask that you run it by us first at ihl(at) Typically things shared in percentages (ie. this is 20% increase) then that is fine. Items in raw $$$ or units typically we will not allow to share. But we can work with you on this. We realize that you buy the research to use, so we can usually find a nice compromise that protects our IP and meets your needs.

Was this a survey or a paper?
A little of both. When it comes to this sort of impact study it is part art and science. We have several primary research studies behind the numbers. These are then extrapolated across segments and markets to provide overall sizing. We run this by key clients and other analysts for their insight and view as well before we release. So the cornerstone is detailed primary research data with CIOs meshed with numerous analysts with over 100 combined years of retail sizing experience to build the models.

Is more detail available beyond what is in the study?
Yes, indeed. We have an extremely detailed Retail WorldView IT Sizing model that allows us to look at over 300 technologies across every region of the world by segment. So we can customize the research output just for your needs. Simply contact us at ihl(at) or +1.615-591-2955

Can I get access to the analysts who wrote or partnered in the study?
Yes, one of the core differentiators of IHL Research Studies is that included in part of the price is up to 1 hour with the analyst to ask follow-up questions or dig further into any assumptions. This does not extend to getting more data, just better insight into how we arrived at the data and came to the conclusions from that data.

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