State Of The Vending Industry Preview: It's Up

June 2, 2016

This month you’ll be receiving the June/July issue of Automatic Merchandiser magazine in your mailbox or inbox. Among some great features including the Maumee Valley Vending Success Story and cold coffee in the workplace, there is our most well-read feature each year. That’s right, it’s the State of the Vending Industry Report issue.

Because I appreciate the time and effort many of you took to fill out and participate in the survey that determines the SOVI, I wanted to share just some preliminary findings of the report with you here. Stay tuned for the full report, set to be released in a few short weeks.

Technology is a must have

Industry revenues have gone up again this year, which is great news…for most. Probably the most significant change for operators across the nation was the adoption of technology. That is a big word that covers a lot of items from hardware to cloud-based services. There are three technologies that are truly changing the face of vending: micro markets, vending management systems and cashless payment acceptors.

We are starting to adjust the State of the Vending Industry Report to reflect these strong areas of the industry. You will see an entire section broken out just for micro markets and what our readers are telling us about their micro market business. Plus, we are working to delve deeper into the technology aspect, asking about VMS and what types of technologies are most important to an operation’s bottom line.

Something that struck me this year was that when I compared operators that reported increased revenues to those that reported decreased revenues, the use of and investment in technology was startlingly different. Technology appears to make a big difference in those growing revenues.

Why we do the report

I get a lot of questions each week from operators, but one question I have never received is “Why do you do the report?” Because operators know the report is important. It’s a yearly way for those in the industry to benchmark their progress and compare it with others around the country. The report covers the operations, both big and small, that provide vending machines, micro markets and office coffee services to workplaces throughout North America. We base the charts and much of the report on the survey we send out to our readership. Insights are based on interviews and conversations with operators as well as comments from the survey. It is a great opportunity to anonymously share your information, and then compare your business to those across the nation. Plus, doing this report keeps my math skills sharp. This blog was almost called “Why Math Really DOES Matter Outside Of School.” (Kidding!) We collect, analyze, write and publish the report to ensure the industry has information and resources needed to remain in business. With that in mind, we also strive to make the report more relevant each year.

Based on some operator feedback, we are altering the State of the Vending Industry Report in another way. We are not including the average national prices reported for each category. Instead, later this year, we will break the prices down by region to provide a better comparison for operators. We plan a special report on pricing with some tips for working with customers.  So keep an eye out for that. 

I also want to say a big THANK YOU to the vending operators who filled out the survey completely and with honest answers. I know it was long, but hopefully your diligence will be rewarded. Happy reading!