Photo: Unmanned kiosk ordering system in McDonald's in Seoul. Credit: The Blue Roof.
Hankook Research 한국리서치 conducted an in-depth survey of Koreans’ attitudes toward digital devices. South Korea is among the world’s most high tech societies, with 99.7% of the adult population owning a smartphone. Most people are quite happy with their devices, as 98% said their life has become more convenient thanks to the smart machines. Even the elderly are fairly happy with their devices and attempt to learn new features. The South Korean government recently issued an emergency relief fund in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, for which people could apply online or offline. Among those who are 60 years old and older, 68% applied online, and 99% of those who applied online found the online application process convenient.
Yet the digital divide persists in a new form: unmanned kiosks at retail stores, which are gaining popularity in the pandemic era as stores attempt to go contactless. Among the seniors (60 years and up,) 40% had never heard of the term “kiosk,” and 37% said they had heard of the term but were not sure what it meant. Among people in their 20s, 70% preferred ordering through a kiosk rather than through an attendant. People in their 50s and 60s strongly preferred ordering in person (60% and 57% respectively.) And 36% of those over 60 years old said they found the screen difficult to read.