Smart vending machines are pioneering global development in the Southeast Asia region.
Against the backdrop of the retail industry exploring new sales formats such as unmanned stores and integration with e-commerce, smart vending machines in Southeast Asia have emerged as leaders worldwide. This is attributed not only to the earlier popularity of smartphone payments compared to other countries but also to the demand for contactless shopping due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The surge in labor costs has also provided favorable conditions for unmanned sales, positioning Asia at the forefront of retail innovation.
Forth, a Thai electronics manufacturer operating TAOBIN, plans to separate its vending machine business and aims to apply for an initial public offering (IPO) by 2023. The financing amount is yet to be determined, and the company aims to expand into overseas markets such as Australia and Indonesia. They have recently initiated operations in Malaysia.
In Singapore, SmartRx, a developer of vending machine systems, introduced a prescription drug vending machine in March. The model involves customers receiving remote medical consultations in a small room set up next to the vending machine, and they can purchase prescription drugs on the spot.
Malaysia has also witnessed the introduction of vending machines selling nutritional supplements and vitamins. YesHealth, the operating company, revealed that they have deployed over 30 machines since March 2022 and aim to set up more than 100 machines in the near future.
Data from FIS, a U.S. financial services giant, indicates that 44% of payments in stores in the Asia-Pacific region are made through mobile payments, surpassing North America and Europe.