Death of the ATM? 80% of Brits will behave differently towards publicly available touchscreen tech post Covid-19

As the spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19) continues to disrupt lives, livelihoods, communities and businesses worldwide, research conducted by global product and service design company, Foolproof, a Zensar company, has identified that 4 out of 5 (80%) UK consumers will change the way they engage with publicly available technology, in light of the pandemic.

The statistics indicate big implications for retailers, banks, and travel operators, who rely on millions of interactions daily with technologies such as ATMS, ticket machines, chip and pin terminals and self-service checkouts. Combined with previous third party research into the cleanliness of public touch points in retail outlets and at touch-based ordering systems such as McDonalds, the findings point towards the need for a much cleaner, touch-less future.

The result comes from a recent survey* that Foolproof conducted to highlight how consumer behaviour is likely to change towards public touchable technology.

Peter Ballard, Co-founder of Foolproof comments: “This survey clearly shows that people are now more averse to touching technology in light of the current pandemic than they were before. What’s more, there are strong indications that these attitudes may become more ingrained in our post Covid-19 future. This underscores the need for changes to future product and service design, and we need to accept that people will want to touch things far less than they are required to do now.”

The findings indicate a need to change touch points to reflect new customer attitudes to touch. 72% of people have either worn gloves or wiped down a public touch surface within the last two weeks. Moving forwards – when asked about future attitudes towards the hygiene of publicly available technology –  almost 50% (48%) of participants say that they will use contactless payment where the limit allows, a quarter (25%) of respondents say they will use cash machines less, and only when absolutely necessary, and one fifth (20%) say they will do more online grocery shopping online.

Ballard continues, “Currently the onus is on the customer to make adaptations when interacting with these technologies, not the business who rely on this engagement to sell, gather data and so on. For brands offering public facing technologies in the future, the exploration of other ways to reduce touch through design should be a consideration. In the immediate term, this creates unique design challenges that require unpicking.

“We suggest leading on intermediary changes which reduce touches to purchase such as, styluses, improved mobile payments and QR codes as a way to pay, whilst having a longer-term strategy for the trajectory towards being completely touchless. Further off we could see a boom in touchless interactions rooted in haptics, voice and gesture or see mobile devices facilitating a broader set of interactions beyond payments – this will foster all new touchless experiences.”