Final Major Project | Primary Research: Observation - 5

For the first part of the primary research, I invited 5 participants to record their one-week transactions. Because this project is running during the COVID-19 period. It is difficult for me to follow them and visit various places together so the only way I can observe people's behavior is to visit supermarkets. I set up a participant observation for my family. I will purchase everything by only using digital money.

Tho goals of the observations are below:

  1. Understand how people use their digital money in daily life

  2. See how they feel about their digital money

  3. Study their spending pattern on digital money

Participant Observation 1 🛒


When I was experienced buying everything by using my digital money, I didn't have much feeling at the beginning. I felt like I already get used to it. I didn't use cash for a long time when I came to London.

Purchasing 1-week groceries

But when I make every transaction seriously, I felt like I spent more than I expected when I use digital money to pay. Finally, I had 5 times observations at Sainsbury's in a month to observe how people using their digital money to pay at a supermarket.

Receipts for 5 time transactions

Checkout Experiences

Below photos captured I can find out three different checkout areas in Sainsbury's. Most people use digital money when using a self-checkout machine. But I only find out 2 people use cash to pay in the cashier during my one-hour observation, which means even you can see staff to help you scan your items, people prefer to pay by digital money rather than physical cash.

Below are the transcripts that I recorded with two customers at Sainsbury's.

Observation Interview transcripts with two customers at Sainsbury’s

Participant Observation 2 🛒

📍East Street Market

I also went to East Street Market without bringing any cash and try to pay by digital money. However, it is harder than I expected. Below is the conversation I have recorded with the shop owners.

Observation Interview transcripts with two shop owners at East Street Market

Project feedback & Reflection 🙌

After doing the observation, I find out some new insights that I didn't consider before. It is important to why people get used to using digital money and why some people don't want to use them. As everyone has their own concern about changing behavior. Now I am planning an experiment and interview to find out more insight regarding this topic. Next week, I invited 6 people to join the experiment and interview.

Please have a look at the next blog for further progress.

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