Can vending machines become the main theme of the unmanned retail industry?

As a fully automated retail device, the vending machine is quite flexible in adapting to the location, with low maintenance cost, no need for manpower, and can work 24 hours a day. The average number of people in the United States is 35 people, and the average number of people in Japan is 23 people. I believe many people have heard the data. If it is assumed that China has an average of 50 people, there should be a demand of 28 million units, but we rarely encounter them on the road. Is it China's "land"? Is it suitable for vending machines to "grow"?

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During the 1990s, the number of vending machines in Japan peaked at 5.61 million units, which was the most glorious moment, and vending machines entered the Chinese market at this time. After coming to China, vending machines have been It was tepid, and it did not break the 100,000 mark until 2015, when the market size was only 3.82 billion yuan.

In the summer of 2017, unmanned retail began to detonate the domestic retail industry. Whether it is Internet giants, traditional retail companies or entrepreneurs, they have joined the track. In 2019, the market size of vending machines reached 18.09 billion yuan in one fell swoop, a year-on-year increase of 28.75%, and the retention rate also exceeded 700,000 units. But soon after, the entire automatic retail industry went silent for various reasons.

Vending machines first entered the vast and rich Chinese market as a brand promotion, but faced with a dazzling variety of sales channels, from shops in the entire block to various stalls on the street, and then to people who carry loads and walk through the streets. "Sellers" lack advantages in terms of categories and coverage. More importantly, although this consumption model can bring some comfort to the Japanese, it is too shabby compared to China's fireworks. . The rigid consumption process not only did not bring convenience, but became a limitation.

Although the vending machines in the initial period were a stumbling block in the domestic market, with the rapid development of urbanization, vending machines have found a suitable position. In 2017, the market size of vending machines has increased significantly, and it is mainly in factories, campuses and other specific places that perform best. This just confirms that the biggest advantage of vending machines is not for and other sales channels. The competition is convenient, but it solves the problem of rigid needs for a specific scene. It is precisely because the rigid needs are found that the vending machine can finally exert its power.


Of course, the rise of vending machines has another important factor in addition to just need. If finding just need is the result of trial and error in the entire market, then the "Internet of Things for Mobile Payments" is a godsend opportunity to localize vending machines. If vending machines developed on the highway from 2017 to 2019, then after 2019, it is like taking a plane directly. In addition to the slow growth in 2020 due to the outbreak of the epidemic, the next two years have been unstoppable, and so far, the number of units has exceeded 1 million. During this period, the average annual compound growth rate of my country's smart unmanned retail industry was as high as 115%.

Since 2022, various unmanned retail players have continued to move. SF Express’s “Feng e Foot Food” completed a 300 million yuan Series A financing in February; beverage companies such as Nongfu Spring and Yuanqi Forest have also set up terminal equipment. The investment target; and the prospectus disclosed by Youbao at the end of May further promoted the unmanned retail industry to come to people's eyes again.


In August 2022, the national cash-collecting Minion vending machine - Minion gift limited machine debuted in Beijing Changyingtian Street, Huaxi Wukesong, Guomao Yintai and Tongzhou Wanda Plaza, all of which are full of Beijing passenger flow 's head business district. Different from the blind box vending machines we have seen in the past, this machine realizes the process of consumers scanning the code to turn on the machine, choosing the goods to try on, if they are not satisfied, they can put it back and choose again. After they are satisfied, they can close the door and pay automatically. As soon as the vending machine debuted in Beijing, it attracted a lot of onlookers and experiences. Especially young people and children showed great interest and lined up to experience the experience.


From the perspective of market demand, the development of vending machines undoubtedly has great potential. According to the data provided by Emma Consulting, it is expected that the sales scale of unmanned retail will reach nearly 2 trillion yuan by 2025. The consumer group covered will also reach 250 million people.

On the whole, the offline unmanned retail scene has great commercial value and is an irreplaceable offline channel for brands to reach consumers.

In the long run, because unmanned retail has unparalleled advantages in the traditional retail industry, merchants need to refine operations, differentiate product selection, and collect and use user data, all of which have become the key to whether entrants can make profits. , the in-depth exploration of subdivision needs and consumption scenarios may be the main theme of the second half of the story of unmanned retail. 

In my opinion, unmanned retail vending machines have a promising future. How baout your opinion? Welcome to leave messages to us. 

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