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Smart vending machines are proliferating in China and Southeast Asia

Smart vending machines are proliferating in China and Southeast Asia

վ2023-06-27 12:48
In the context of the retail industry exploring new generation sales forms such as unmanned stores and combining with e-commerce, Asia's smart vending machines have taken the lead in the development of the world.

Smart vending machine "TAOBIN" (Bangkok, photo by Ken Kobayashi)

In the five years to 2022, the amount of vending machine sales in Malaysia increased by 70%, China increased by 40%, Singapore and Thailand also increased by about 10%. Mobile payment penetration in Asia is high and security is relatively good, with low risks of theft and vandalism. High labor costs also blow the east wind for no one to sell...

In China and Southeast Asia, the use of IT-enabled smart vending machines has soared. In addition to the fact that smartphone payments were popularized earlier than in other countries, it is also due to the need for contactless shopping due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rising labor costs have also contributed to unaccompanied sales, with Asia leading the way in new retail models.

In Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, there are more and more white vending machines "TAOBIN" with large screens. After selecting an item on the touch screen and paying with your smartphone, the item comes out in about 80 seconds. As of the end of May, about 6,000 units have been installed in stations and residential buildings across Thailand, and 200,000 drinks are reportedly sold every day.

The reason for its popularity is the wide variety and moderate price of drinks. There are 25 kinds of coffee alone, 20 kinds of tea, and a single vending machine sells up to 170 kinds of drinks. The price is 15~65 baht (about 3.1~13.4 yuan), less than half of the ordinary coffee shop, you can also choose the sweetness according to your preference. A 30-year-old American man who used TAOBIN for the first time said, "I have never seen such a wide range of vending machines."

Forth, the Thai electronics manufacturer that runs TAOBIN, intends to spin off its vending machine business and file for an initial public offering (IPO) as early as 2023. The amount of funding has not yet been determined, and the company is aiming to enter overseas markets such as Australia and Indonesia. Will soon start operations in Malaysia.

In China, smart vending machines are also increasing, centered on stations and so on. These vending machines support mobile payment methods such as Alipay and wechat Pay, and some also support facial payment. In addition to drinks, there are vending machines selling blind boxes of toys.

There are also vending machines in Shanghai where robots make coffee. This is a device developed by Shanghai Helium Dolphin Robot Technology, a startup company, which makes drinks by placing ice and coffee in a cup and closing the lid. According to reports, this vending machine has been set up in about 30 cities in China, in addition to exports to the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Malaysia and other 12 countries.

Vending machines made of coffee and other beverages by robots (Shanghai, May)

According to a survey by the British research company Euromonitor International, in the five years to 2022, the amount of vending machine sales in Malaysia increased by 70%, China increased by 40%, and Singapore and Thailand also increased by about 10%. Smart vending machines drive the amount up.

The use of vending machines has also expanded beyond drinks. In Singapore, SmartRx, which develops vending machine systems, launched a prescription drug vending machine in March. The model is that customers receive remote treatment from a doctor in a small room set up next to a vending machine and can buy prescription drugs on the spot.

Malaysia has also seen the emergence of vending machines selling nutritious foods such as vitamins. According to YesHealth, the operating company, more than 30 units have been installed since the launch in March 2022. The company said it will "strive to install more than 100 units in the near future."

In Asia, driving the use of smart vending machines is the high penetration of mobile payments. Data from US financial services giant Fidelity National Information Services (FIS) shows that 44% of payments in stores in the Asia-Pacific region are mobile payments, higher than in North America and Europe.

In developed countries with more traditional vending machines centered on cash payment, the use of vending machines has shown a decline. In terms of market size, Japan will shrink by 14 percent from 2017 to 2022, the United States by 17 percent, and Europe including Germany and France will also shrink.

Another factor is the region's relatively good security and low risk of theft and vandalism. According to a Gallup survey, the Law and Order Index (LPI), which reflects the level of public safety and security, was 94 in East Asia and 86 in Southeast Asia, higher than that in Europe and the United States.

At the same time, the current wage hikes and labor shortages in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic are also taking their toll. This is because vending machines do not require labor costs, and the floor space is smaller than the store. Can control the rent at a low level, and easy to achieve 24 hours of business. In countries such as China and Thailand, the aging of young children is increasing, and the demand for automation is huge.

CPALL, the largest convenience store chain in Thailand, has introduced vending machines selling snacks and bento in some 10,000 7-Eleven stores operated by CPALL. In the face of rising labor costs, such as a rise in the minimum wage, the move seems to be aimed at improving efficiency through vending machines.

Smart vending machines in Asia are considered to be mostly manufactured by operating companies and manufactured in China, and Japan's presence as a "vending machine power" is weak. According to the shipment of beverage vending machines, Fujifilm master Japan's domestic market share of about 70%, the company to use the "Internet of Things (IoT)" technology, in Japan to launch according to demand to pricing "sustainable vending machines" and so on. Overseas, sales of the company's late foray into mobile payment-enabled models are being accelerated.

In the context of the retail industry exploring new generation sales forms such as unmanned stores and combining with e-commerce, Asia's smart vending machines have taken the lead in the development of the world.

Kenichi Shimomura, head of the Asia Japan window at Roland Berger, a German consulting firm, pointed out that "smart vending machines can become a useful asset for the retail industry by understanding consumer behavior and purchasing trends in different regions through small investments."

This article is from the wechat public account "Nikkei Chinese website" (ID: rijingzhongwenwang), written by Ikami Kosuke Wakasugi Tomoko, 36 krypton authorized to publish.

תժ36 https://36kr.com/p/2319402265903744





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