At present, the unmanned retail industry includes automatic vending machines, open shelves and unmanned convenience stores.
In the second half of 2017, the unattended convenience stores are gaining momentum. Actually, they are using more flexible and smaller space with no one to guard the self-service payment to reduce the cost of building and renting store and labor costs to thereby improve operational efficiency.
In contrast to the growing trend, China has nearly 200,000 vending machines, and about 90% of them are beverage machines. The industry of vending machine is still on the initial stage.
A research paper released by CIC in October last year predicted that if the number of vending machines in China grows by 25% during 2017-2020, vending machines in China is expected to reach 1.54 million by 2020.And the sales volume is estimated to reached 51 billion yuan 2017 to 2020 if each vending machine were sold at 14000 yuan.
As the consumers demand for convenience shopping increases and the Internet technology and mobile payment becomes more and more popular, the future of vending machine will certainly grow rapidly because of the its flexibility and convenience for the consumers.It is conservatively estimated that in the future there will be about 10 million vending machines in the domestic market which will grow at least in 40 times in the future.
At the same time, Zeng Ming, chief strategy officer of the Alibaba Group and education director of Hupan University, pointed that, vending machines will become a mini supermarket that can reach users within 100 meters in a given scenario, and use the advantages of intelligent hardware IOT to interact with users,completing a reconfiguration of the cloud end,and it is really a very promising future.
Vending machine has become a new sales channel for traditional enterprises such as food and beverage as there is almost no other channel for traditional retailing.
Some enterprises have keenly caught a development opportunities in the market. Since 2016, the fast consumer products groups such as Nongfu Springs, Wahaha and so on have entered the vending machine market.
It was reported that by 2017, the number of Nongfu Spring vending machines is over 10,000 and a special department had been set up to operate them. Nongfu spring vending machine is not only widespread throughout the city, but also popular in the tourist attractions. Coca-Cola currently has about 5000 vending machines in China and will focus on expanding the program in 2018.
At the same time, as early as July 2016, the beverage pioneer Wahaha had decided to focus on the field of automatic vending machine. Mr. Zong Qinghou and his brotherZongzehou cooperate to establish a vending machine company, which is Zong Sheng Intelligent Technology Co., Ltd., They planned to invest 2 billion, set up 100 thousand vending machines, and build national Intelligence retail terminal network.
It is reported that with Wahaha's channel system, Zongsheng's vending machines had manufactured more than 20,000 by 2017 in only 2 years and they were put mainly in colleges and universities, hospitals, large factories, scenic spots, and so on. There are nearly 500 in the Sichuan area. Therefore, it is no doubt that vending machines grow incredibly fast.
Guo Jianhuan, general manager of Hangzhou Zongsheng Intelligent Technology Co., said that vending machines in the western countries has been well developed while in China, it is still on its initial stage. There is a secret in the industry that the champion of the beverage industry will also be the champion of vending machines.
At the end of 2017, Wangwang Group, one of the most famous beverage brand in China also decided to set up an vending machine operation and it is expected to manufacture thousands of vending machines across the country in the near future.
Zhao Gang, vice president of the company, said at a 2018 new retail sharing conference on Jan. 8, 2018, that the store had entered the field of unmanned smart cabinets and wanted to reduce the distance between stores and customers from 300m to 15m.
In China, vending machines are growing rapidly.
According to China Association of chain operators, the data shows the only the number of vending machines in China reaches 2.7 million do it truly meet the demand of consumers. Annual sales volume of vending machines in China is 7.5 billion yuan in 2016 and it is estimated nearly 44 billion yuan in 2022. At present, 90% of vending machines are run by 40-50 professional operators, while the remaining 10% are run by food and beverage brands.