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Japanese Vending Industry Demonstrates Renewed Vitality In 2012; Revenues Climb 1.4%

Posted On: 5/16/2013

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TAGS: Japanese vending machines, vending industry in Japan, Japanese Vending Machine Manufacturers Association, vending industry study, vending Census, Japanese vending sales, JVMA study, soda vending machine, food vending, coffee vending machine, coin-operated locker, vending dollar volume, vending industry revenue

TOKYO -- The vending industry in Japan saw an increase of 1.4% in revenue in 2012, according to the annual industry report issued by the Japanese Vending Machine Manufacturers Association.

Total vended goods and services revenues rose to ¥5.375 trillion, or $52.5 billion at today's rate of exchange. That figure includes not only vended food and beverage sales of ¥2,314 trillion ($22.6), but also transportation and meal tickets, postage stamps, sundries including razors and tissues, sanitary goods, newspapers and magazines, toys and cards, goods rental machines and coin lockers. JVMA also tallies coin and bill changers, although they are not standalone profit centers. The industry's total sales revenues in 2011 had been ¥5.302 trillion ($51.8 billion).

[Editor's Note: The yen has been falling against the dollar during the past two years. The monthly average of the yen/USD spot rate for this report was ¥102.5/$1. For last year's report on Japan's 2011 vending industry, filed on May 31, 2012, the rate was ¥79.7/$1.]

As in years past, beverage-vending equipment represented the lion's share of product vending sales. The 2,179,000 soft drink machines on location generated ¥1.902 trillion ($18.6 billion) in 2012, up from the ¥1,895 trillion sold through the 2,146,600 soft drink machines on location a year earlier. Milk also ticked up, with 2012 sales of ¥146 billion ($1.4 billion) through 167,300 machines, compared with 163,900 machines doing ¥144.6 billion in 2011 sales. Coffee vended in cups, though, edged down, to ¥157 billion ($1.5 billion) in sales through 182,500 machines last year versus ¥159.7 billion sold from 184,800 machines in 2011. Beer and sake sales also declined, from ¥55.6 billion in 2011 to ¥50.6 billion ($495 million) in 2012.

Food continues to represent a small but stable part of the Japanese vending menu. The JVMA report shows the number of machines on location unchanged from 2011 to 2012, at 74,100, while sales volume dipped from ¥58.087 billion in 2011 to ¥57.8 billion ($565 million) last year.

Tobacco vending, which has been on the downtrend in Japan and elsewhere, continued its descent in 2012. Machines on location dropped from 327,500 in 2011 to 304,000 in 2012, generating total sales of ¥486.4 billion ($4.8 billion), or 82.5% of 2011's ¥589.5 billion volume.

Newspaper and magazine vending machines held steady from 2011 to 2012, with 7,000 machines returning ¥7 billion ($68 million) in both years. Stamp vending declined sharply -- "snail mail" apparently surviving no better in Japan than it has here -- while sanitary goods, toys and cards sold more briskly last year. Transportation ticket sales ("tickets to ride") declined in unit sales but produced more revenue, while meal ticket venders continued to proliferate and generate higher sales. These meal tickets have no exact analogue in the United States; they are prepaid media sold through vending machines to restaurant customers in advance, and then presented to the server for fulfillment.

"Sanitary goods" vending ticked down in 2012, with machines on location dropping from 45,000 to 40,000, tracked by sales volume of ¥15 billion in 2011 and ¥13.8 billion ($135 million) last year. Coin lockers and similar amenities, by contrast, edged upward, with units on location rising to 1,175,000 last year from 1,170,000 in 2011 and yielding ¥141 billion ($1.4 billion), up from ¥127 million in 2011. And the number of coin and bill changers in the field diminished from 61,200 in 2011 to 59,000 last year.

All the advanced industrial nations with mature vending industries saw vending contract during the international financial crisis five years ago. Providing refreshments in workplaces is a substantial part of what vending does, so a downturn in employment always will impair vended sales volume. Changes in consumer tastes and international trends in government oversight also bear on the composition of vending sales. The industry in Japan, like its counterparts in the U.S. and the European Union, is adapting to these changes, and recovery is under way.

Vending Machine Type (VM)
Vending Machine Product Category
Ratio to previous year
Machines on location (1)
Â¥1,000 (2)
Beverage VM Soft drink 2,179,000 1,902,267,000 101.5 100.4 42.8 35.4
Milk 167,300 146,052,900 102.1 101.0 3.3 2.7
Coffee in cup 182,500 156,950,000 98.8 98.3 3.6 2.9
Beer,Sake 33,700 50,550,000 95.7 90.9 0.7 0.9
Beverage VM Total 2,562,500 2,255,819,900 101.3 100.0 50.3 42.0
Food VM Total 74,100 57,798,000 100.0 99.5 1.5 1.1
Tobacco VM 304,000 486,400,000 92.8 82.5 6.0 9.0
Ticket VM Ticket to ride 16,200 1,717,200,000 95.3 104.4 0.3 31.9
Meal ticket 25,900 271,950,000 107.9 107.9 0.5 5.1
Ticket VM Total 42,100 1,989,150,000 102.7 104.8 0.8 37.0
Other VM Postal stamps etc. 30 42,000 75.0 75.0 0.0 0.0
Razor,tissue etc. 96,000 30,720,000 98.0 Back