Number of vending machines Japan 2010-2018

The number of vending machines installed in Japan was forecasted to decrease to approximately 4.8 million in 2018, about 400 thousand less than in 2010. While international media does not seem to tire of covering Japan’s allegedly obsession with vending machines offering all sorts of titillating goods, most machines operated across the country carry a rather mundane range of products, such as beverages, cigarettes or public transport tickets.

The uniqueness of vending machines in Japan

The country hosts an abundance of vending machines, in both residential and commercial areas alike. Low crime rates allow companies to operate stand-alone machines across Japan, without fearing vandalism or robbery, contributing to the success story of the Japanese vending machine market.
Most products sold via vending machines might be not as bizarre as the world wide web suggests. However, the variety of goods within one category, such as beverages, is tremendous, covering a plethora of brands, flavors, temperatures and trending items, from hot coffee and cold beer to fresh milk or the latest food craze, which is bubble tea.
Japan is well known for its robotics and automation affinity, seeping right through to its vending machine business. Besides being a fun outlet for technological gadgets such as face recognition in vending machines, automation technology can be a workaround for labor shortages, which the country has struggled with in recent years.

Reasons behind Japan’s fondness of vending machines

Japan is notorious for its around-the-clock convenience. Since the busy lifestyle of many of the country’s citizens demands efficiency in both professional and private lives, the perpetual availability of products sold via vending machines matches modern-day consumer demands.
Moreover, the variety of products available via vending machines is unmet by store-based retailers, such as chain supermarkets or convenience stores, which tend to carry a similar selection of items and brands. Independently stocked vending machines, however, can offer a wider range and faster rotating assortment, stimulating competition, entrepreneurship, and ultimately purchasing power.

Accumulated number of installed vending machines in Japan from 2010 to 2018

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Release date

January 2018



Survey time period

2010 to 2016

Special properties

accumulated numbers as of end of December of each year

Supplementary notes

Data prior to 2017 was quoted by the source from JVMA, forecasts were estimated by the source.

Research subjects were beverage manufacturers, vending machine operators and manufacturers, and other related organizations and companies.
Figures have been rounded.

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Statistics on "Food retail in Japan"

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