Self-service checkout option set to expand in African supermarkets?

By our News Team | 2023

Self-service is already growing in popularity in South Africa. Kenya’s first service was launched at a Nairobi supermarket recently.

Self-service checkouts have become an accepted part of the supermarket shopping experience in many countries around the world; could the concept be about to take greater hold in the African formal retail environment too?

Indications are that this could happen, albeit more slowly than in developed countries. In February, the latest Global Consumer Insights Survey from PwC found that a significant number of surveyed South African consumers said they prefer to use self-service checkouts and scan-and-go technologies when shopping in-store.


Photo by Greta Hoffman from Pexels

“A significant portion of South African consumers have a preference for self-service options in-store; 59% of respondents reported they find these capabilities appealing,” said Anton Hugo, Retail Industry Leader for PwC Africa, when the survey was released.

More recently, the Carrefour supermarket chain in Kenya unveiled a self-checkout service at its Nairobi Westgate Mall store.

“The self-checkout service underlines our ongoing commitment to creating seamless shopping experiences for all our customers through adopting global best practices and solutions,” said Majid Al Futtaim Retail Regional Director for East Africa, Christophe Orcet.

“The innovative service will allow customers greater freedom, control and convenience while shopping.”

The service will be utilised by customers shopping less than 15 items and is expected to be rolled out in all Carrefour stores in the country following a successful pilot. 

Carrefour Kenya is owned and operated by Emirati-based holding company, Majid Al Futtaim, which also operates Carrefour in Egypt, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

“The launch of the self-service checkout is a sign of intent from Majid Al Futtaim: it plans to roll out initiatives and technologies deployed elsewhere in its store network into East Africa,” commented emerging market consultancy Trendtype.

“This is as much about sending a message to rivals Naivas, Quickmart and Chandarana – as well as to consumers – that the Carrefour brand in Kenya is at the cutting edge and looking to improve the customer experience.”

According to research firm Research and Markets, the global self-checkout in-store systems market size is expected to reach US$10.5-billion by 2030, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 13.3%.

You can watch a short video of the Carrefour self-checkout service launch here.