Under the maturing technologies such as artificial intelligence, the unmanned retail concept has been booming, with a lot of capital and enterprises swarming around. As one of the important formats, vending machines are expected to usher in a new round of outbreak. It is expected that by 2020, the total number of vending machines in China will be closed to 1.5 million, an increase of nearly 8 times in 2016. Therefore, the potential in vending machines cannot be underestimated!
The Status Quo in Vending Machines
In 1925, the United States developed a vending machine selling cigarettes, and various modern vending machines selling stamps and tickets appeared. There are some modern vending machines, such as food, cigarettes, and beauty, according to the type, structure and function of modern vending machines varies depending on the items sold.
However, vending machines, a popular mass consumption pattern and carrier common in foreign cities, entered the Chinese market a few years ago, which not only failed to achieve the expected market effect and widespread consumer acceptance, but also caused the investor a big economic loss because of badly damaged equipment. The vending machines in Chinese market are based on beverage, with few in number and single specie.
At present, the number of vending machines in China is about 190,000 units, which is negligible compared to the population of 1.3 billion. In Japan, on the average, there are one vending machine for every 25 people, while the United States is for every 50 to 60 people and every 50 to 120 people in Europe. Lots of large and medium-sized cities in our country have become the emerging markets of vending machines. The future potential and development direction will be increasingly concerned by related manufacturers.
The Bottleneck in Vending Machines
The reasons that the development of China's vending industry is relatively slow are manifold. The biggest obstacle is that Chinese consumers have doubts about the reliability and easy operation of vending machines. In addition, the goods in vending machines are relatively simple whose prices are higher than the similar products in supermarket and convenient store. Moreover, the machines can only accept coins and small notes, affecting consumers’ choice.
Furthermore, the standardization of vending machine industry faces great challenges. The issue of consumers’ complaint becomes common, which means that the vending machine industry needs to be standardized.
The Prospect in Vending Machines
The vending machines can develop so rapidly due to the improvement of people’s income and their pursuit of life. With the expansion of the opening to the outside world, the traditional retail develops into a department store, supermarket chains, TV direct sales, factory direct sale, which greatly facilitated people's lives. At the same time, vending machines with high technology, new sales methods, the market potential, genuine commodity, determines its broad prospects for development. Moreover, it communicates with new forms of consumption such as e-shopping, creating enormous business opportunities.
According to the experience of overseas development, the vending machine industry in China will achieve rapid growth. It is estimated that the annual volume of vending machines will reach 100,000 to 200,000 units and the annual output value will increase by 2 to 4 billion yuan. In 2022, the number of self-service vending machines is expected to reach 1.49 million units.