Vending Machine Operators

Detailed information for 1996





Record number:


This survey collected data on sales of merchandise by vending machine operators through automatic vending machines, type of machine, percentage distribution of vending machines and sales, and by location for Canada and the provinces.

Data release - February 23, 1999


This survey was last conducted for the 1996 reference year. As of reference year 1999, these data are collected within the Retail Non-Store Survey (record number 2448).

This survey collected data on sales of merchandise by vending machine operators through automatic vending machines, type of machine, percentage distribution of vending machines and sales, and by location for Canada and the provinces.

Reference period: Fiscal year

Collection period: March to August


  • Retail and wholesale
  • Retail sales by type of product

Data sources and methodology

Target population

For the purpose of this survey a vending machine is defined as a device which automatically dispenses merchandise after a requisite amount of money is inserted into the device. The merchandise vended includes tobacco products, beverages and food products, as well as non-food products such as pens, hosiery, batteries, toiletry goods, books, etc. Excluded are products vended such as gasoline and newspapers, as well as services vended such as music, amusements, laundry, dry cleaning, photographs, photocopies, shoe shines, etc. A vending machine operator is defined as an individual or firm that, on his (her) or its own account, owns, or leases vending machines, places them and is responsible for their servicing and repair. The vending machine operator has the sole right to withdraw cash from these machines and keeps separate accounting records. To be 'in scope' for the survey, a vending machine operator must operate at least 10 full size vending machines or report total sales of at least $20,000. Bulk confectionery vending machines and others which sell items for 25 cents or less, constitute a special case. These machines dispense unpackaged confectionery, nuts, bubble gum, chewing gum and trinkets. For the purposes of coverage in this survey, 20 bulk confectionery machines are considered to be the 'equivalent' of one full size vending machine.


This survey is a census with a cross-sectional design.

This methodology does not apply.

Data sources

Responding to this survey is voluntary.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

The collection of data on vending machine operators was effected in two stages: prior to the launching of the annual survey, letters were mailed to distributors of vending machines, vending machine equipment and vending machine products, requesting the names and addresses of new accounts opened during the preceding year. The names of new accounts, together with additional names obtained from trade magazines, newspapers, etc., were then matched against the existing mail list and added as required. Questionnaires were then sent directly to all firms on the updated mailing list requesting information on the types of machines operated, location placement and amount of receipts or sales realized. Of the schedules mailed usually 70% usable questionnaires are received and 3% are estimated based on the previous years returns. In addition, 20% are received that are usually cancelled for various reasons. The remaining firms, 10%, who fail to submit a return are followed up. It should be noted that owing to the definition of a vending machine operation used in this survey many thousands of machines owned and operated by various retail stores, some wholesale trade outlets, restaurants, hotels, service stations, and other personal service establishments, are not included in this survey. Since 1972, the statistics of small operators, i.e., operating less than 10 full size vending machines and reporting less than $20,000 of sales, have been "out of scope" as a result of the definitions used in this survey. However, such operators are surveyed annually to determine whether or not they have expanded sufficiently to be "in scope" for the survey. In 1984, this exclusion affected 110 operators with total sales of $1 million. In 1983, a similar exclusion affected 112 operators with sales of $1.1 million.

Error detection

Annually, major revisions only.


Non-response is based on last year's return.


This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects that could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.

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