This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Pradyut Hande. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

A Vend in the Road: An Insight into the Vending Machine Market and the Neo-Indian Consumer

More from Pradyut Hande

By Pradyut Hande:

The Indian economy continues to register respectable growth rates, given the predicament of a sluggish global economy. Consequently, with a substantial increase in the levels of disposable income, consumption trends have also undergone a gradual metamorphosis both in urban and rural India. Urban India in particular has spawned a new generation of educated, dynamic, globally sensitized, highly aspirational and ever burgeoning socio-economic collective that I call the Neo-Indian consumer. Within the age demographic of 15-35 years and drawing upon its predominantly middle and upper middle class background, the Neo-Indian consumer is more receptive to the morphing socio-economic scenario, both on a domestic and global level. For him, consumption is fuelled by an amalgam of demand, need, curiosity and comfort. Quality is of vital consequence. This rapidly growing consumer base in an emerging economy propelled by sound free market ideals provides more than a fabulous window of opportunity for companies to suitably position themselves by offering a diverse and demand specific range of products and services. Set in this backdrop, I have chosen to view the Vending Machine market in India through a more discerning lens with an accent on the Neo-Indian consumer profile.

Ever wondered how much potential the Vending Machine that gives you a steaming cup of Coffee at the Railway Station every morning or evening holds? Well, I certainly gave it some thought! The Vending Machine market in India has been around for more than a decade and a half but has shown uninspired growth as such. The initial rudimentary machines gradually gave way to more sophisticated and reliable setups but the market as such failed to take off. However, off late, in the backdrop of the emergence of the Neo-Indian progressive consumer and other favorable socio-economic undercurrents; the market has begun to show great promise. Given the potential target consumer base primed for consumption, sale of products through Vending Machines is touted to reach $ 1 billion by the end of 2012. Estimates suggest that only 12 — 15 % of the entire market has been tapped thus far. Furthermore, a majority of the revenues generated accrue through the sale of hot beverages such as Tea and Coffee and Soft Drinks. This presents Vending Machine manufacturers, operators and FMCG companies as such with a huge opportunity to target a largely untapped market.

Automated Vending Machines in particular are becoming increasingly popular in the Indian context. These compact setups that are generally 4 — 6 ft. in height, occupy an area of 4 — 6 ft. These cost Rs.1, 40,000 — 10, 00,000; depending upon the level of refrigeration and order customization. These are generally stocked with a relatively diverse product range inclusive of packaged snacks, food items, candy, confectionary, beverages, stationery and certain other high consumption FMCG items. Predominantly installed at Railway Stations, Airports, Colleges and other Educational Institutions, Petrol Stations, Malls, Offices and Hospitals; the Automated Vending Machine presents a lucrative option for market players to effectively cater to an existential latent demand.

So, what is it that makes these machines a hugely viable and enticing proposition? The following are the merits of Vending Machines as efficient marketing channels —

– The Neo-Indian Consumer Factor: For starters, the emergence of the Neo-Indian consumer driven by changing lifestyle and consumption patterns and the percolating consumerism effect has created a burgeoning market and increased demand
– Greater Distribution: Manufacturers and companies alike benefit by utilizing Vending Machines as an efficient distribution channel for their products by appropriately locating them in spaces liable to see high footfall from the target demographic
Increased Market Penetration: At a fraction of the cost incurred, these machines provide companies with the chance to penetrate new markets without the hassle of hiring too much labor. These machines bring the company one step closer to the eventual consumer; thereby, serving an intermediary role
Enhanced Visibility: Companies willing to sell their products through Vending Machines stand to gain from increased visibility in an already cluttered market. Hence, the machines not only serve as a distribution unit but also serve as a display unit; creating enhanced visibility and brand recognition
– Effective Advertisement Platform: In addition to just merely offering products for sale, the machines also serve as an effective advertisement vehicle; thereby, aiding companies to establish a more holistic interface with the consumers and ensure higher brand recall in the long run
– Silent Salesman: Bereft of any human intervention whilst selling, the machines negate the adverse implications of low productivity as a consequence of employee leave, holiday or strikes. These machines function 24 hours a day, 365 days a year serving customers
– Guaranteed Quality: Vending Machines store quality products in a quality, safe, secure and hygienic environment. This also reduces the chances of adulteration and duplication that can hurt the prospects and credibility of the company per se.

Now despite the many advantages that this avenue presents to multiple stakeholders; the market is fraught with myriad challenges that have hindered its progress and may continue to do so unless addressed at the earliest. Some of these developmental impediments include —

– Availability of relatively cheap labor that fuels the proliferation and operations of Stores and Canteens. These serve as indirect competition
– Lack of usage despite access to automated machines owing to absence of technical knowhow, trust and other psycho-social variables
– Issues pertinent to currency recognition; prices of products within the country is such that making payment through coins is inconvenient and unfeasible at times. A proper currency recognition system which accepts and gives back currency in both notes and coins is vital. Also, alternate payment channels via cards and mobiles could be explored later
– Threat posed by vandalism and inconsiderate usage
– Lack of regular repair and maintenance and replenishment of these machines can render them unfit for operation; thereby, undermining the entire Endeavour

Indubitable is the fact that the Vending Machine market in the country as well as other emerging economies such as China, Mexico, Brazil and South Africa is poised for significant growth in the years to come. However, the industry will be able to fulfill its latent potential only if the aforementioned challenges are taken cognizance of. It will come down to handling the Neo-Indian consumer transition from curiosity to convenience to habit driven consumption through Vending Machines. What it boils down to is whether the market players are able to leverage their core competencies with a strong customer orientation and expand market coverage in the future.

A Vend in the Road is certainly here. We just have to tread on it productively now.

You must be to comment.
  1. Sarthak

    Dear Mr. Hande,
    Thanks for uploading such an insightful article on the market of vending machines in India. I am doing a study on the distribution network of the vending machines and the role it may play in paving inroads to the future.
    Would really appreciate your views on the same.
    Kindly let me know if you would be interested to discuss the same.


  2. Saurabh Agrawal

    Interesting article Pradyut.

    @Sarthak: I am also doing a study on vending machine. Let me know if you are interested to discuss on this.

  3. sanjeev sharma


    Nice article. The Vending Operation and the Industry especially the Snack and beverage is now taken off in India. As being part of this Vending world past 25 years in India and abroad, I can say that in next 2 to 3 years Indian consumer will find the snack and beverage vending machines in most of the Public places like Airports/corporates/educational institutes/malls/factories/residential complexes etc etc.

    most of the challanges have been taken care off except for the MRP regime in India

    Seaga, is currently holding 90% of the Indian market in terms of number of machines manufactured which accounts for our 2 % of the total production capacity. Large players like Videocon (Instago Retail), Vendiman, Nutrifills, Snaxsmart, National vendor, Grabbit vending etc etc who are our operators in India are growing almost 200%

    kindly get in touch at to explore the profitable world of vending


  4. MRAS_Research

    Comments (1)

    Vending machine technology is going to continue providing latest advancements such as face recognition systems, and ID card identification to check the buying history of customers, thereby ushering an era of technologically advanced vending machines.

    Check out this report on Global Vending Machine Market –

More from Pradyut Hande

Similar Posts

By India Development Review (IDR)

By Ritwik Trivedi

By Prakash koli

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below