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What matters to Spanish shoppers?

Updated: Sep 6

Consumer confidence in Spain is booming and international visitors are returning which is great news for the country’s merchants. To help them take advantage of the upswing, we look at Spanish shopping trends and what buyers really want to see at the POS.

Spanish shoppers are feeling a lot more optimistic than this time last year. According to the Consumer Confidence Indicator, sentiment in June was 92.4, the highest since October 2021. At the same time, tourist figures for March 2023 show that there were 30.1% more visitors to the country than a year ago with total expenditure increasing by 31.1%. These positive trends were reflected in Spain’s retail sales which grew 6.4 % YoY in June 2023.

There is obviously lots of opportunity for growth, but how do merchants that have been beleaguered by COVID and economic pressures, make sure that they are able to optimise their sales when times are good?

One of the best ways is to make checkouts as frictionless and appealing as possible, especially for outlets operating in urban and tourist hotspots where competition for trade is high.

So what are the key trends retailers need to be aware of and how do they impact the POS:

  1. Spaniards love to shop but have an eye for a bargain. On average, Spanish consumers shop two to three times a week with 50% of sales taking place at the weekend. The top spends are food (328 euros a month) and fashion (554 euros a year). But with wages low and unemployment high, they are also cost-conscious. 75% of Spaniards look for a bargain before buying something, while a quarter leave their regular retailer if they find lower prices elsewhere. Being able to deliver and redeem incentives and promotions at the POS can make or break a sale and boost loyalty.

  2. More prefer cards to cash. Although some smaller shops, bars and restaurants prefer to avoid card fees by taking cash only, they may soon find themselves forced to change. Cash now represents less than a quarter of the country’s transactions (23%) while over half (57.8%) are from debit and credit cards. Retailers that don’t offer card acceptance can find their average order values falling or sales drying up completely as Spanish consumers stop carrying large amounts or indeed any cash.

  3. Busy Spaniards want to tap and go. Spain ranks third for the highest number of contactless payments in Europe, behind the UK and France and ahead of Germany. And it’s not just cards, Spanish shoppers love to tap and go with their phones. 42% now use mobile payments and, by 2026, the total number of mobile contactless payment users is expected to reach 31 million. Contactless-enabled POS devices are now a must, especially for high-volume stores, where convenience (and no queues) is a priority. POS devices that facilitate split payments, pay at table and QR code acceptance are also important for hospitality outlets.

  4. Consumers desire the financial flexibility of BNPL. Spanish workers earn an average of €24,396 a year but wage developments have not kept pace with rising prices. Consequently, many people are using BNPL as a convenient way to spread costs and manage budgets. As well as having access to global BNPL brands like Klarna, there are also homegrown solutions such as Santander’s Zinia. As a result, BNPL payments in Spain are expected to grow by 19.8% on an annual basis to reach US$ 5,038.3 million this year. It’s important that retailers can add new payment methods like BNPL to their POS quickly and easily as soon as they become available in local markets. Cloud-connected devices can help them do this remotely.

  5. Security is a key concern. Spaniards are among the Europeans most concerned about personal data protection with over 50% expressing a lack of confidence. Certified, PCI-compliant POS devices that offer the highest security can help avoid reputational damage. Tamperproof devices that facilitate software updates and security patches over the air can make maintaining a safe environment even more accessible.

  6. Tourists are an important source of revenue and have their own needs Visitors account for around 14% of Spain's total GDP and over 20% of all economic activity. Many are drawn to Spain’s historic cities, beautiful beaches and its many local and religious festivals. A key difference between tourist and local shoppers is the window of engagement. Unlike locals who may visit the same store multiple times, tourists may visit only once so the experience has to be good. With only one opportunity to win the sale, retailers need an efficient POS, preferably connected to their back office and stock systems to make sure they have the right products available at the right time and to facilitate customised services. They must be able to accept a variety of payment options and multi-currency seamlessly and offer services like direct currency conversion.

Want to explore the latest solutions?

Castles Technology offers a wide variety of POS devices and solutions for all types of retail environments and with the flexibility, performance and security that is vital in Spanish markets. Our Android POS devices are ideal for fixed, unattended and mobile checkouts, offer multi-connectivity, a wide range of acceptance options including mobile wallets, contactless and QR codes and are certified for use in Spain.

Discover all this and more by visiting the Castles Technology booth25 at the Secure Payments & ID event in Madrid on 20 September 2022. Events | Castles Technology Payment Systems (

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