New research from the AVA has found that the vending industry is showing signs of a post-pandemic recovery, with 16% growth reported in the sector from 2020 to 2021,
The findings have emerged from the AVA’s annual Census for 2021, which consisted of submissions from the operators of 310,000 machines around the UK. The data also highlighted the continuing growth of cashless vending technology and micromarkets.
Whilst industry turnover remains down on 2019 figures, 16% growth was recorded from 2020 to 2021, aided by increased revenues from hot beverages (up 16%), cold beverages (up 13%), snacks (up 16%) and food (up 19%).
As the industry shows Signs of Recovery from the pandemic, operators are said to expect further growth of 20% in 2022, thanks to largely price increases and the return to work, combined with growth in the Coffee-to-Go market (up 20% from 2020 to 2021) and the unprecedented rise in the popularity of Micromarkets, which saw a 25% increase from 2020 to 2021.
The AVA’s findings reflect the fluid nature of the New Normal. Hybrid working will precipitate further reductions in the number of traditional workplace canteens – and increase demand for Micromarkets and ‘smart fridges’.
Meanwhile, cashless operations continue to increase. More than 55% of pay-vend machines now offer cashless payments – and an increasing amount are now cashless only. Where cashless systems are fitted, 68% of transactions are completed by card or phone. That’s a significant increase on the 34% reported in 2017.
‘The Signs of Recovery are a welcome sight, following the disruption caused by the pandemic’, said David Llewellyn, the AVA Chief Executive. ‘Operators have shown significant creativity in their response to the key challenges in 2021, modifying their approach to ensure profitability, despite hybrid working.
‘Further challenges are on the way – whether staffing, rising costs, supply chain issues or potential new legislation, so it is important to remain optimistic about an industry that has never failed to show agility and resilience’ David said. ‘Shifts in demand and consumer habits bring with them new opportunities, and we anticipate this to be especially true in the next year, as clients feel the need to improve their staff facilities to entice employees back into the office.’