A market research firm in London has reported that one third of Western European ATM markets shrank last year, a trend which some ATM analysts privately worry could happen in the U.S. as well.
Dominic Hirsch, managing director of London based Retail Banking Research wrote about the phenomenon in one of the firm's research bulletins. The firm's research wrote that six countries, including Great Britain and Spain, two of the largest, saw the numbers of ATMs fall last year. But he also noted that two countries that have lower rates of ATM penetration, Italy and Turkey, saw increases. This suggested that the unprecedented drop in the numbers of ATMs represented more of an anomaly than the start of a trend.
Nevertheless, Hirsch pointed to a couple of troubling trends. For example, while the drop in many countries could be attributed to financial institutions closing or consolidating branches and could be expected, in the United Kingdom falling transaction rates at ATMs had led some independent deployers to pull their machines that had become to expensive to operate at their locations.
Hirsh wrote that the firm expected the number of ATMs in parts of Europe to continue to drop as financial institutions continue to consolidate branches, but that the relatively large number of areas without any ATMs still allowed for growth.