Vending Industry Shows Strong Growth and Innovation, According to Latest AVA Census

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May 22, 2024

The Vending & Automated Retail Association (AVA) has released its latest census results, revealing a healthy 14% overall revenue growth in 2023, with an additional 11% growth projected for 2024. Should this growth be achieved, industry revenues will surpass 2019 levels, marking a significant recovery and expansion period, post pandemic, for the vending industry.

Diversification Beyond Traditional Sectors

Operators are increasingly expanding their presence beyond the core Business & Industry sector, venturing into convenience stores, hotels, apartments, and the healthcare sector. Initially driven by the challenges posed by Covid-19 and the shift towards hybrid working models, this diversification has positioned the industry for greater resilience and stability moving forward.

Significant Investment in Cashless Payment Systems

The AVA census highlights another year of substantial investment in cashless payment technologies. Currently, 85% of pay vend machines are equipped to accept cashless payments. Notably, mobile phone payments have surpassed contactless card payments as the leading form of transaction. Furthermore, cashless transactions have demonstrated a higher value, averaging over 90% more than cash transactions.

Growing Importance of Fresh Food Offerings

The vending industry is experiencing a significant rise in fresh food sales, which is increasingly contributing to total revenue. This growth is supported by a substantial increase in the number of micro-markets (up 37% from 2022) and smart fridges (up 190% from 2022 from a small base). Additionally, there is an increased share of sales through combination machines, reflecting a broader consumer demand for fresh and varied food options.

Challenges Amid Growth

Despite these positive trends, the industry faces ongoing challenges such as inflation, rising costs of living, staff retention and recruitment difficulties, and uncertainty around new legislation. The census reports that average costs for operators have increased by 14%, outpacing the average price increase of 10% implemented by operators to manage these pressures.

The AVA continues to serve as the leading authority for the vending industry, leveraging census results and data to drive industry improvements. The AVA Census is freely available to all AVA members in the members’ area of our website. Non-members can purchase a copy or contact David Bamford for more information on the benefits of AVA membership for vending companies. His contact details are provided below.

Looking ahead, the AVA Futures Group will utilize this census, along with other industry insights, to support further growth and innovation in the industry. The next meeting, which will review the census and industry results, is scheduled for 12th June 2024, and will be held online. For more details and to secure your place, please email [email protected].

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