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New Year’s Resolution: What the Checkout Can Do for Your Diet

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14homespun.jpgRISMEDIA, Jan. 4, 2008-Looking to shed a few pounds in the New Year? The average American woman could lose up to 4.1 pounds a year simply from resisting the urge to purchase impulse items such as chocolate candies, chips, and soda once they are in the checkout line, according to a new study from IHL Group. Men could lose 3.1 pounds.

These were ancillary findings from IHL’s Self-Checkout Study, which researched consumers and their impulse purchases at staffed and self-checkout devices.

“The average woman in the study claimed to purchase and consume over 14,300 calories from calorie impulse items over the period of a year (3,500 calories per pound),” Buzek said. “While women have an overall higher average, men under the age of 25 years old are the heaviest consumers of caloric impulse items, consuming enough calories each year for an additional eight pounds! Retailers could do a great service to consumers by providing lower calorie options such as 100-calorie packs or fresh foods as impulse items.”

According to the study, self-checkout systems have a dramatic impact on the purchase of impulse items at checkout. Impulse purchases among women drop 32.1% and men 16.7% when self-checkout is used instead of a staffed checkout. The primary cause of the drop, according to the study, comes from the fact that self-checkout devices are not as merchandised as staffed lanes in most retailers. Additionally, there is usually a shorter line at each unit, removing the captive audience with the tempting impulse items in front of them.

In the market study, 2007 North American Self-Checkout Systems, IHL examines the consumer acceptance of self-checkout technologies, what consumers like and dislike about the systems, and what impact they have on their shopping behavior.

A summary of the results is available at www.ihlservices.com.

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