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The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the vending business' downturn.

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the vending business' downturn.

Photographer: Noriko Hayashi/Bloomberg

Vending Machines Aren’t Tailor-Made for the Pandemic After All

Pandemic-era shopping is planned and deliberate. That’s hurting vendors that take advantage of impulse buying and accessibility.

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At first glance, vending machines seem tailor-made to survive a pandemic. There’s no human interaction and they’re convenient, ready to dispense drinks and other products anytime, anywhere.

Yet the Covid-19 crisis appears to be accelerating their demise, nowhere more visibly than in Japan, where beverage retailers pushed vending machines to new heights of ubiquity and creativity. The reason? Less foot traffic.