Automatic Vending Association announces findings from its latest industry census

• UK vending industry turnover has increased by 2 per cent to £1.53bn

• The number of open-site cashless transactions per month has doubled in 2016

• 39 per cent of cold drinks sold in 2016 were low sugar/diet or water

The Automatic Vending Association (AVA) has today announced findings from its 2016 UK Vending Industry Census.

Using data and insights gathered from a wide range of industry sources including operators, manufacturers and suppliers, the latest annual industry census offers an authentic picture of the UK vending industry today.

The major highlight of the census report was the positive news that the UK vending industry turnover has increased by 2 per cent to £1.53 billion, with more operators expecting growth in 2017 than delivered growth in 2016.

This growth, together with price rises across the board, due to inflation and the introduction of more premium lines, has helped compensate for consumption levels, which have continued to decline. The coffee shop boom shows no sign of slowing down and continues to provide the platform for the industry to further premiumise the hot drink offer. This is supported by the ongoing growth seen in bean-to-cup, paper cups, larger cups and machines using fresh liquid milk.

Cashless payments are also experiencing growing popularity in UK vending and in 2016 we have seen a dramatic increase in the overall value of cashless transactions within vending, and within that an ongoing steady rise in contactless card and mobile phone payments.

The report identified a number of key challenges that the industry currently faces including the soft drinks levy due in 2018. 39% of cold drinks sold in 2016 were low sugar or diet alternatives.

Jonathan Hart, Chief Executive of the AVA, said: “It is very positive to see that industry turnover has increased to £1.53 billion in 2016. Although the industry faces challenges in the shape of the rising National Living Wage and the soft drinks levy, the innovations being made within the industry resulting in vending becoming more visibly healthy and convenient for consumers, will ensure that UK vending faces these challenges head on.”

The 2016 Census was compiled by Martin Colston, former Global Strategic Insight Director for Mars Drinks, who has over 30 years’ experience in the vending industry. Martin commented:

“It’s great to see growth in overall vending turnover for the first time in many years, and the positive outlook for 2017 from so many members. Premiumisation is really starting to bear fruit with some real innovation coming through. My thanks go to all those who took the time to meet with me and to provide data.”