Automatic dispensers (2)

According to the European Vending Association (www.eva.be), the Increasingly nomadic lifestyle of consumers is a great opportunity for the vending industry. They expect out of focus market expand considerably over the next decade.

The last few years have been difficult for manufacturers and operators of vending machines. As we have seen, the manufacturing industry provides the majority of the demand for these machines, but this market is slowing down, due to the transition from blue-collar to white-collar workers also implies an adaptation of the type, range and quality of the products supplied. (www.eva.be).

Some developments to be expected in the near future are:

  • Machines that sell products with payment via mobile phones
  • Machines equipped with Internet browsers
  • Control panels with touch screens
  • Machines that speak, for the blind or visually impaired
  • Machines that are more respectful of the environment, which use refrigerants that are harmless to the environment, which make better use of environmentally friendly or recycled materials, which consume less energy …
  • (www.eva.be)

Other trends could be imagined that the control of machines could be organized remotely using mobile computing.

The rate of production growth in the United States, measured over ten years, is moderate. An increase of about 70 percent over ten years equates to less than 5% growth per year. It’s hard to say what the development of different products and sectors did during this time. But the numbers “hide” this information.

The European Vending association provides the number of machines sold per period. This information is not focused on sales, but on production, for example:

In Spain, 29,049 machines were sold in 2001 against 34,148 in 2004. And an overall growth rate of 18%, and almost due to the growth of 2004.

The situation in the Netherlands shows a growth rate of 25% but this is due to the growth of 1999. The situation has stabilized since then. For Europe as such, growth is also moderate by twelve percent over the years 2001 to 2004 and in this case this increase took place in 2004.

Google Trends shows that people have been looking for less “vending machines” since 2004 and the search engine suggests reading the following headline: Popular sex toy vending machines in Britain ([http://www.nbc4.tv/irresistible/7779805/detail.html] – March 7, 2006).

This title sheds a little more light on the use of these machines. It is not (only) that it facilitates a purchase at all times. And it goes beyond the nomadic way of life.

It is also interesting to know that South Africa is the best region for looking for vending machines.

But although the trendline seems to be slowly going down, it’s hard to say what the trend really is for vending machines. But it seems reasonable that these machines are still dependent on developments in the industry and that there are shifts from one category (manufacturing and beverages) to others (specialties and niche markets). ATMs, which could be seen as a family product dedicated to banking, have mushroomed over the years and led to a massive change in consumer behavior.

The question is, what trends in society will cause vending machines to grow beyond normal population growth.

© 2006 Hans Bool

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