Being forced to spend extended periods of time queuing at the check-out is exasperating Australian shoppers and causing many to simply walk away and terminate their loyalty to the retailer, according to new research conducted on behalf of NCR Corporation by Galaxy Research.

In the national survey of 1100 people, almost all Australians (95 per cent) encounter queues in their daily lives. However, check-out queues in the retail environment are of particular concern and figured as a cause of angst for almost three quarters of the respondents (71 per cent), which the majority (85 per cent) blamed on a lack of check-out staff.

As a result, many respondents admitted to swearing, causing an argument and pushing. Most concerning for the Australian retailers is with this increasing level of dissatisfaction consumers are voting with their feet and permanently taking their business elsewhere.
The survey showed that as many as 11.5 million adults (73 per cent of those aged 16 years and older) have walked away because of the queue and 6.2 million (39 per cent) have vowed never to come back. It also revealed that the average Australian wastes around 38 minutes in a queue during a typical week.

However it is younger people aged 16-24 years who spend more time in queues (on average 50 minutes or more a week) compared with those aged 50 years and older (who averaged around 32 minutes a week). Unsurprisingly, most Australians (81 per cent) believe that as a nation we have become less patient.

“Queuing unfortunately is part of everyday life, but there are ways and means of reducing its impact, such as letting people know how long they are going to have to wait for, as well as introducing self-serve technology that empowers the customer with choice and a speedier option,” says Geoff Evison, solutions sales manager Asia-Pacific, NCR’s retail/hospitality and self services solutions.

When looking at options to reduce queue frustrations the survey reveals that an estimated 5.6 million Australians (35 per cent of those aged 16 years and older) would be happy to serve themselves and 68 per cent of respondents suggesting that organisations should offer self-service technology as a matter of course.

Aside from retail outlets, other queuing hotspots included post offices (59 per cent), banks (57 per cent), airports (53 per cent) and fast food outlets (36 per cent). Returning unwanted Christmas presents (33 per cent) also got a special mention, while buying train tickets (13 per cent) and checking into a hotel (nine per cent) rated lower.

Finally, when asked for the best ‘queue buster invention’, Australian nominations include the ATM (30 per cent), the internet (29 per cent), the airport self check-in (14 per cent), the retail self-checkout (10 per cent), the ticket dispenser (seven per cent) and the car park payment station (five per cent).