JAPAN. A country with lot of visitors, beautiful nature, and rich with culture. If you have been to Japan, you will notice one thing: there are so many vending machines where ever you go. It might not be a surprise that Japan has the highest density of vending machines in the world with around 5 million machines nationwide. Approximately, there is 1 vending machine for every 23 people, which brings an annual sales more than $60 billion.
Why Japan has so many vending machines?
Japanese people value efficiency and convenience. They work so hard but so do American and everyone else in that matter. The difference is the population. Japan has declined birth rate and ageing population increasing every year, which results in higher labour cost. Thus, it is cheaper to maintain vending machine than to hire a store assistant.
In a country with roughly size of California, Japan has a population of 127 million people. Geographically Japan consists of 75% mountainous regions which makes it practically inhabitable for most people. The result: 93% of the population live in the city in high rise apartment. Therefore, this makes price of land expensive, which in turn Japanese companies rather stick a vending machine on the street than opening a retail store.
The next thing is lack of crime in Japan. Two of Japanese major cities: Tokyo and Osaka have been in the top 10 safest city in the world. This thing creates a great cycle. Lack of crime makes vending machine rarely vandalised and easy to maintain turns to people satisfaction of using it.
While most of developed countries are going to cashless payment, Japan is still a cash based society. The prices for drinks sold in vending machines are also surprisingly low. You can get 500 ml of juice with around ~130 yen. So what else to do when you have coin in the pocket? Go to vending machine and treat yourself a drink.