Shoppers Prepared to Trade Concerns over Electronic Tagging Technology for Real Shopping Advantages, says GartnerG2

Egham, UK, November 13, 2003 � A new survey from GartnerG2, a unit of Gartner, today revealed that 70 percent of UK shoppers are concerned about the introduction of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. However, it showed that 80 percent of the same shoppers are prepared to accept it once they understand the tangible benefits the technology can bring to their shopping experience.

The GartnerG2 survey, based on 1000 interviews conducted in the UK, found shoppers fear retailers will use RFID tags to track their movements after they have left the stores, and that they will be bombarded with junk mail as a result of companies knowing which products they buy.

While the option to remove the tag at the checkout counter sufficiently eased the concerns of 30 percent of consumers, an overwhelming 80 percent were willing to accept RFID tags if they could see tangible improvements to their shopping experience. This included better availability of stock, fresher produce, less waiting and easier ways to return unwanted goods.

“UK consumers are genuinely concerned about RFID tagging, however the majority are willing to make a trade off,” said Gill Mander, retail analyst at GartnerG2. “This illustrates how crucial it is for retailers to manage the transition to RFID properly, and that if they recognise the need to invest in educating the consumers about the practical benefits, a lot of the current hype and debate will go away.”

Mander added, “This parallels the situation already seen with Internet banking, where consumers have shown they can overcome even strong fears about security in return for the convenience of round-the-clock service.”

To win over anti-RFID customers, GartnerG2 said retailers should promote three key benefits in particular:

  1. Fewer empty shelves: Shoppers would have a better chance of finding the items they want in stock because RFID tags would enable retailers to monitor stock levels on the shop floor, in the warehouse and in delivery trucks coming from suppliers.

  2. Shorter queues: With RFID technology, retailers could electronically monitor the number of trolleys waiting at each checkout lane, allowing them to manage queues better.

  3. Faster checkout procedures: RFID technology would enable customers to scan their products all at once while still in their trolley, instead of a checkout assistant having to pass them over a scanner, one at a time, at the point of sale.
    The GartnerG2 survey found that families with children were particularly inclined to trade acceptance of RFID for a better shopping experience. They spend the most time shopping and would benefit most from quicker checkouts and better stocks. They are also the group retailers are most anxious to attract and retain.

About GartnerG2

GartnerG2 is a research service from Gartner that helps business leaders guide and grow their businesses. It offers a steady stream of relevant data and insights related to companies, markets, and the external forces affecting businesses today, and in the future. For more information about GartnerG2 services, please visit

About Gartner, Inc.

Gartner, Inc. is a research and advisory firm that helps more than 10,000 clients leverage technology to achieve business success. Gartner’s businesses are Research, Consulting, Measurement, Events and Executive Programs. Founded in 1979, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Conn., and has more than 3,800 associates, including approximately 1,000 research analysts and consultants, in more than 75 locations worldwide. Revenue for calendar year 2002 totaled $888 million. For more information, visit