The number of ATMs installed worldwide grew by 3% to 3.3 million in 2016. As in recent years, the vast majority of new ATMs were installed in Asia-Pacific
China still propels ATM expansion
At a country level, China added by far the most ATMs in 2016. Local banks have sought to gain new customers and provide a better service for current ones by introducing ATMs to rural and previously underserved urban areas. It should be noted however that the RBR research found the rate of growth in China has slowed as banks ramped up deployment of alternative self-service terminals. Such machines are cheaper to install than ATMs, and typically offer a wider range of functionalities, freeing up ATMs for cash-focused transactions.
Financial inclusion initiatives bolster growth in many Asian countries
Aside from China, RBR’s study showed that several other large Asian markets, including India, the Philippines, Pakistan and Bangladesh, witnessed strong growth in 2016. In these countries, financial inclusion initiatives by governments and banks have proven successful in bolstering the number of banked individuals. This in turn has helped swell demand for cash, heightening the need for additional ATMs.
The global importance of Asia-Pacific as an engine of growth is demonstrated by the fact that, following strong expansion of 6% in 2016, the region now accounts for just over half of all terminals installed worldwide – a share which has grown rapidly over the last decade, and which is anticipated to rise further in the coming years, to reach 54% by the end of 2022.
The number of ATMs in western Europe falls for the first time
Conversely, while growth remains robust in Asia-Pacific, RBR’s research showed that for the first time since their introduction 50 years ago, the number of ATMs in western Europe underwent a decline, and the region ended 2016 with 2,000 terminals fewer than a year before.
The UK, Germany and France, the region’s three largest markets, all saw marginal falls, while the Nordic countries continued to shed ATMs apace, with Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland all seeing annual reductions of 5% or more. Here, the demand for cash has been falling as consumers increasingly switch to alternative payment methods such as cards and mobile banking apps.
Rowan Berridge, who led RBR’s Global ATM Market and Forecasts to 2022 research, remarked: “Over the past decade, the number of ATMs deployed in Asian markets such as China and India has risen at breakneck pace, propelling Asia-Pacific to become by far the largest global region in terms of ATMs. This is expected to continue in the years ahead; indeed it is forecast that by the end of 2022, China alone will host close to one million machines, more than all North American and western European countries combined.”