The Mobile POS market will surpass $2 billion in hardware/software sales in North America in 2013, and 28% of North American retailers plan to adopt Mobile POS in some form by the end of 2013, according to research from IHL Group
But while the market appears to be buzzing, the growth curve is far from linear, with 33% of retailers not planning to adopt Mobile POS at all within the next 3 years.
The adoption rate is very dependent on the type of retailer and volume of transactions, says Greg Buzek, president of IHL Group.
"Tthe vast majority of retailers are taking a slow and methodical approach to the use of mobile for POS," he says. "There are key operational issues in device and merchandise security, cash handling, payments, bags, customer service levels and traffic flow that must be worked through, or the use of the devices will be disruptive in a negative way for retailers."
The study finds that specialty retailers are deploying about 45% of all tablets shipped to retail for POS. They are most popular in small independent retailers of all types and large mall-based specialty chains.
In larger stores, mobile at the POS is seen as an additional transaction point, rather than as a replacement for traditional fixed POS station.
Despite this, IHL forecasts that Mobile POS devices will cannibalise 12.4% of traditional POS shipments by 2016, with over 3.6 million tablets in play by 2017.
The highest areas of replacement will be department stores and specialty soft goods retailers, says the firm.