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A dive into the bizarre phenomenon of Japan’s vending machine ecosystem

Published: 12th July 2022

Japan is famous for being the home of new weird and wonderful technology, and its vending machines are no exception. A visit to the country will show exactly how popular they are as one can be found at just about every turn, and it is estimated that the country is home to a whopping 4.9 million of them – that’s one vending machine for every 30 people. So, what is behind the Japanese vending machine phenomenon?

Convenience is king

The technology boom in Japan has largely been centred around making life easier and this is exactly what vending machines achieve. With many Japanese people working long and unsociable hours, many find that shops have closed, or they are simply too busy to visit one.

However, with a vending machine on hand everywhere they go, grabbing something to eat is as quick and easy as you could wish for. That might be part of the reason why Japanese vending machines have the highest sales in the world, making annual sales of more than 5 trillion Yen ($50 million), not to mention the fact that even in the current climate, the products that they sell remain incredibly cheap.

Perfect maintenance

The Japanese understand the importance of looking after their surroundings, which is why there are bins installed either in the vending machines or right next to them. Specialised maintenance companies restock the machines and deal with the litter so flawlessly that the plethora of vending machines never causes a problem. Thanks to low levels of vandalism in Japan, the machines are all kept in good working order even in the most public of spaces.

Innovative design

As you might expect, Japanese vending machines are unlike any others that you might have come across. Not only do they stock everything you could ever want, from cold beers to ice creams, but they are also covered in creative and eye-catching designs.

They can serve hot and cold drinks from the same machine and use an LCD screen to provide information about the products and recommendations based on the time, temperature, and the age and gender of the buyer.

Eco-friendly options

Any new development in technology now needs to have the impact it makes on the planet in mind, and vending machines are no exception. There are now some eco-friendly vending machines in development that make use of energy-efficient lighting and heat pumps as well as some which are powered by solar energy and insulated with moss!

This has been done as the machines are in operation 24 hours a day and concerns were raised about the energy that they use, but many now have built-in sensors and timers to detect the brightness of the surroundings and control their lights accordingly.

Vending machines are big business in Japan because anyone can install one and start making money. The Japanese people recognise the huge benefits that these machines can offer both for the consumer and the business, and when they have a good maintenance company behind them, they can prove to be a massive hit.

Does your business need a vending machine?

If your business would benefit from a Vending Machine, then why not browse our stock here at Cema Vending, today. With our wide range of products, we’re sure to cover whatever you might be looking for. Contact us today on 01157 845 845, or drop us an email on sales@cemavending.co.uk and we’ll do everything we can to help!

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