2021 – A look back
2020 will be remembered as the year of lockdowns and the year when masks became a style accessory for the masses. But 2021 has had a lot of other reasons to be remembered. While some may remember it as commercial space flights becoming the new norm, others will remember the vending industry and its big moments in 2021.
The market for vending equipment grew at a much faster pace than 2020. In a market that has been traditionally dominated by the United States and East Asia, other emerging markets have started making their marks too. This is not happenstance. A growing population with disposable income, new-age payment technologies and the need for contactless purchasing have all aided this growth. The traditional vending products market is set to reach $12 billion in 2021, according to leading industry analyst Technavio.
Trends in Vending
Vending machines are customized automated mechanisms that can provide items like snacks and beverages. The penetration of vending machines in the global market has been growing for the past few years. North American markets have dominated the market historically, but recent years have been great for American-made vending machine manufacturers and operators in Japan, China, South Korea and other Far East markets. Between these two geographies, they have covered more than 2/3rds of the global market in the past year.
Research companies like Markets and Research, IBIS, Statista and Technavio are all upbeat about the demand for vending machines in 2021 and beyond. Growth estimates vary from 10.6% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) to as high as 15% CAGR in the next decade. With newer applications, wider acceptance and easier payment systems, this number can only go up.
COVID-19 has influenced the vending machine markets in more than one way. Consumers have become more conscious about social distancing and personal safety than ever before. Solutions like contactless payment, such as Greenlite cashless, Near Field Communications (NFC), and mobile interface have made it possible for users to interact and transact without contact. While contact with the machine is inevitable, technology like UVend Technology has come in handy. UVend Technology can kill or inactivate 99.9% of pathogens making interacting with vending machines safer for customers.
Vending machines are also becoming more versatile and allowing diverse applications. Conventional applications like coffee vending, cold beverage machines, and snack machines, continue to dominate the market. Newer applications like personal hygiene products and lifestyle accessories, however, are beginning to gain some ground.
Socio-economic factors were also a key player in 2021. The fallout from the global pandemic rolled over into 2021. This meant that convenience stores and supermarkets have not been able to function at full capacity all the time, so consumers have had to adapt newer means for self-serviced purchases either through vending machines or e-commerce. Vending machines have also been proven to be an effective alternative source of income when businesses and individuals suffered a decrease in their main sources of income.
The vending machine industry is going through a deep change. From the demand side, it is driven by the need for novel vending applications. So far, a huge part of vending machine transactions has been for food and beverage products and ticketing systems. Now, vending machines are finding new areas where self-service use cases are now relevant and feasible or new applications in self-service use cases. Vending.com offers custom vending machines for such businesses and use cases like laundry, fitness, bait, and many more. An example would be 20 Select Laundry Center custom vending machines that vend detergents, conditioners, and the like. Another relevant, popular, and new use case is PPE vending – Vending.com’s SaniCenter range caters to this use case. The trend in reverse vending is catching up quickly, thanks to waste collection systems incentivizing deposits.
The key factor that is impacting the market for vending machines is the technology component. With more diverse applications comes the need for robust and reliable systems. Modern electronics and cyber-physical systems have helped customize the core vending platforms to suit the needs of the usage. And Vending.com has remained on top and edge of technology waves that have enhanced customer experience. Incorporation of
- Cashless, contactless payment tech – Greenlite
- Sanitization tech for contact surfaces – UVend Technology
- Intuitive touchscreen
Are but representatives of how Vending.com is developing in-house tech in addition to developing new applications atop technology trends to enhance the customer experience.
In more ways than one, vending machines are on the cusp of a new phase. Their technology is changing. Their applications are increasing. Macro factors like geo-political relationships and socio-cultural aspects are constantly evolving. Individual demands and preferences are transforming. All of this promises great opportunities for the vending machine industry. It is going to be exciting for the end-user, vending operator, machine owner, machine manufacturer, and everybody else involved in vending.
Learn more about the vending machine industry and how you can participate in it from the leaders in the vending space. Call us at 1-800-548-1982 to know more.