MALVERN, PA — COVID-19 has disrupted many industries in varying degrees and has impacted the way consumers buy goods and services. USA Technologies, Inc. (OTC: USAT) recently surveyed 474 businesses, including 336 vending operators, during the peak of the pandemic in early May when most states were in closed phases.
The results enabled the Company to gauge the pandemic’s effects on the unattended retail market.
USAT was able to get a close look at a few key trends that have emerged amongst consumers. Specifically, the survey data noted shifts in payment method and changes to products and services offered as a result of changing consumer demands.
The study found 27% of the operators pivoted to offering new products and services, including PPE products, and 19% were offering boxed lunches and take-out options, for example.
The data appears in a new infographic from USAT, which depicted the data analyzed from 120,000 cashless terminals in order to compare the survey results against unattended retail terminal performance.
From the survey conducted in early May, 66% of respondents reported seeing more than 50% of their revenue impacted during the peak of COVID-19, with 48% of total respondents identifying that they were located in a COVID-19 hot spot (e.g. a city or location like New York City or Chicago).
During the month of April USAT observed the largest decline in average sales per machine. By May, the market showed signs of recovery, being driven by cashless payments, specifically contactless payments.
The cashless terminals analyzed saw a 51% growth in sales per machine overall, with 61.7% of total sales in July 2020 made with cashless payments, vs 53.1% in January.
The accelerated adoption of cashless has spurred many in the industry not currently offering a cashless alternative to implement this payment method into their business model.
Cashless payments are an attractive alternative, as a matter of health and safety, security, as well as a noted 43% increase in average transaction size.
“The trends towards cashless, specifically contactless, are being driven by consumers looking for more secure and better protected ways to pay for goods and services,” said Elyssa Steiner, vice president of Marketing, USA Technologies.
“The adoption of contactless payments has been growing steadily over the past few years. However, the onset of COVID-19 certainly has accelerated the demand and use. We believe that this movement towards digital payments of any form, whether credit card, mobile wallet, or such will continue to propagate, as businesses look to provide a safer way to pay for products in person.”
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