Confidence in the vending industry remains high in 2015. The first quarter saw the operator confidence index increase nearly 3% to 133.71. Operators credit the positive change to locations hiring more personnel. The stable job growth and additional disposable income promises to lead to higher sales. Coupled with the seasonal revenue increase that comes with warmer weather, the current and 6 month outlook is very bright.
The strongest driver of growth is the micro market segment. Micro markets were cited as continuing the upward trend for current and potential customers and the future direction many vending operations are going. With a 17% jump over the final quarter of 2014, micro markets are a powerhouse for operators.
Coffee service sales didn’t slump in the beginning of 2015 either. This segment saw a modest increase of 2.12%. Locations are looking for gourmet options, and willing to shop around for service, but many still remain sensitive to price. Despite consumers looking for the best OCS value, there is a lot of movement in this segment and it remains a revenue generator for most operators.
While at the core of many operations, the vending segment dropped slightly in Q 1 as operators felt the pressure to stock more healthy options. The USDA required operators to place specific items in school accounts this past school year, which has been slow to catch on. Many locations are adding healthy vending products to their corporate wellness plans as well, but consumers aren’t buying them in huge numbers and the cost of healthy items is often higher.
Despite product challenges, the overall feeling in the industry is positive. Operators feel more energized, and confident in their revenues for the coming months.