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Shopper age and the use of self‐service technologies

Dwane H. Dean (Anderson Schools of Management, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA)

Managing Service Quality: An International Journal

ISSN: 0960-4529

Article publication date: 16 May 2008




The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effect of shopper age on attitudes toward and use of retail self‐service technology (SST). The age variable has received relatively little attention in the literature.


Questionnaire responses from three age groups are compared. Also, cluster analysis is used to group subjects based on similarity in attitudes toward and use of SST.


Compared to younger consumers, older consumers had experience with fewer types of SSTs, less confidence in using SST, reported missing human interaction to a greater degree, used self‐checkout less often when the option was available, were less willing to pay a premium for express checkout, and were more likely to attribute a corporate self‐interest for the introduction of SST. For the total sample of 718 subjects, 40 percent reported using store self‐checkout 15 percent of the time or less when the option was available. Only 25 percent of subjects reported using automated store checkout on more than half of their shopping occasions.

Research limitations/implications

Only eight types of SST were studied and only one technology was investigated in depth.

Practical implications

Based on the findings of this study, four managerial actions are recommended that may potentially increase traffic throughput at automated retail checkout.


This is believed to be the first study to find significant differences among age groups on multiple dependent variables associated with SST. Also, the identification of consumer clusters based on attitudes toward and use of SST may be novel.



Dean, D.H. (2008), "Shopper age and the use of self‐service technologies", Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, Vol. 18 No. 3, pp. 225-238.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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