Increasing demand for touchless technology proves that all retailers need to maintain hygienic environments in order to survive when the pandemic is over.

WHAT HAPPENED: Companies selling hands-free technology have seen an increase in sales as the COVID-19 virus spreads across the U.S. Kohler, the 146-year-old maker of kitchen and bathroom fixtures, is seeing a surge in sales of touchless faucets and toilets. Yale Locks, a security company, has seen its sales of touchless locks triple in the last month. The U.S. lags behind other parts of the world in adopting touchless technology. In Asia, however, the SARS epidemic in 2003 drove widespread use of touchless plumbing fixtures and contactless payments.

WHY IT MATTERS

  • The growth of hands-free payment technology before the pandemic indicates that brands and retailers need to implement this technology when stores reopen. America will be open for business again in the near future but concerns around the virus re-emerging will persist. Use of contactless payments were growing before the pandemic, with Amazon Go opening more stores across the U.S. and deciding to sell its technology to other vendors. Apple Pay, which launched in 2014, is now available from 70% of U.S. merchants, even though the U.S. still lags behind countries like Australia, where 99% of merchants accept Apple Pay, and the U.K. and Poland, where 95% of merchants accept it.