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Survey Indicates Canadians Eager for RFID in Grocery Stores

Although 80 percent of respondents hadn't heard of RFID or understood it prior to the survey, the majority said they would use an RFID-enabled checkout lane, especially if it meant spending less time waiting in line.
By Claire Swedberg
Feb 21, 2007According to a study completed by marketing and social research organization TNS Canadian Facts, Canadian consumers are less concerned about privacy than they are the cost of implementing RFID technology in grocery stores. Moreover, although a large percentage of consumers said they had never heard of RFID or were unsure what it was, they still stated they would be interested in using it at stores and in their homes if the technology could add greater convenience without increased expense.

TNS carried out the poll from Jan. 18 to 24, 2007, asking 1,056 grocery shoppers across Canada about their willingness to use RFID technology at grocery stores. It also asked about the use of RFID in the home, and nearly half the respondents said they would like to try it.

TNS' Jennifer Bylok
Jennifer Bylok, the company's research director and the study's author, says the survey was driven by her own interest in RFID technology. "I had done some reading about the technology, and being a market researcher, I wanted to measure consumer interest in this technology here in Canada," she says. "I wanted to gain an understanding of how likely Canadian shoppers were to embrace this technology in their grocery stores."

The 1,056 respondents were selected from the TNS Internet access panel, comprised of 110,000 Canadian adults across the country who agreed to participate in survey research from time to time. Each participant received an e-mail invitation to participate, then answered questions online.

On the survey, RFID was described as a technology involving a microchip attached to an item at the store that would allow items to be automatically scanned. Sixty-five percent of those questioned indicated they had never heard of RFID, while 13 percent had heard of it but were unsure what it is used for. Only 22 percent indicated that, prior to the survey, they had been aware of the technology and how it operates.

The greatest concern cited by survey respondents was the cost of RFID and whether that cost would be passed on to consumers through higher prices. They also expressed worry that the technology might not work properly.

According to Bylok, about 75 percent of shoppers surveyed agreed to try an RFID-enabled checkout lane in their store. The other 25 percent indicated they would not want to try it. Of those who would use RFID, 80 percent said they expected it to save them time at the store, while two-thirds said they would continue to shop at the same grocer if the store replaced all its cashiers with self-serve RFID checkout lanes.


Ken Rohleder 2007-02-22 01:23:30 PM
Item level RFID acceptance I agree that item-level RFID would make for an enhanced and lower-cost retail experience. But item-level RFID has nothing to do with the current Wal-Mart initiative to which this article was linked in the email from RFID Journal as evidence of the Wal-Mart initiative's potential success. Perhaps I'm splitting hairs, but RFID Journal appears to be carrying Wal-Mart's water on this issue.

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