The findings of nine trials, which tested age verification technology in retail environments, have revealed an appetite to use digital age assessment in the sale of alcohol to over 18s only.

The series of trials were led by the UK Home Office and Office for Product Safety and Standards to assess innovative approaches to age verification using digital ID or age estimation technologies.

Compared to the use of age estimation at self-serve checkouts, trials of digital ID apps received much lower uptake.

The accuracy of the facial estimation technology was undetermined by the trial which did indicate that environmental factors could affect a reliable result. Facial estimation technologies are not as accurate as facial biometrics which are commonly implemented across the travel and private sectors. However, the trial suggested age estimation technologies could be more favourable to digital ID, especially for young people purchasing alcohol. reducing queue times in shops or into licensed premises.

The exploration of different age verification options will help to inform decisions to enhance robust monitoring of retail environments that are licensed to sell age protected products.