Industry News

US media: China's unmanned retail industry is booming

"Unmanned retail" is booming in China in the post epidemic era. During the outbreak of the epidemic, the unmanned retail industry began to rise in China. With the epidemic basically under control in China, the prospect of the industry will be better and better. We use the term "unmanned retail" to refer to retail stores with low labor force and high technology content, including unmanned stores, vending machines and unmanned shelves. It should be noted that the unmanned retail business still needs some employees. Many "no cashier" shops need to monitor their operation manually. Even automatic shelves require workers to replenish inventory, clean up and update price tags regularly.

IResearch predicts that the scale of China's unmanned retail market will increase from 18.8 billion yuan in 2017 to 48.5 billion yuan in 2020. Another study predicts that the number of users of China's unmanned retail business will surge from 6 million in 2017 to 245 million in 2022.

Huatai Securities believes that the reduction of labor costs is one of the main advantages of unmanned convenience stores, with staff costs accounting for only 3% to 5% of sales, while the proportion of traditional convenience stores is 10% to 12%. One worker can usually manage 10 to 20 unmanned stores. The average gross profit rate of unmanned retail industry is 20% to 30%, similar to that of traditional convenience stores. However, it is more difficult for unmanned stores to provide fresh and cooked food with higher profits than packaged food.

A few unmanned stores have adopted face recognition payment, and customers can complete the payment as long as they take the goods out of the store. But most of the stores still need customers to line up to pay. Shops equipped with advanced technology also have to bear higher maintenance costs for equipment such as cameras and sensors. Finally, for consumers, no man shop is not necessary, because all the goods they need are usually available in traditional convenience stores. (by Deborah winswig, translated by Liu De)

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