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Brief Published: 11 Jun 2020

New At-Home Coffee & Tea Consumption Habits in Lockdown

Coffee and tea consumption remains strong during lockdown

Coffee and tea consumption remains strong during lockdown as consumers form new habits to reflect at-home routines. Stylus identifies trends to watch.

  • Coffee – Routine & Experimentation: While South Korea’s dalgona coffee was a lockdown hit with the Experimental Moderate coffee drinkers profiled in Meet the New Coffee Consumers, consumers have largely attempted to replicate their out-of-home consumption habits. In the US, clued-in coffee lovers fuelled a 109% growth in local roasters’ bean subscriptions (Specialty Coffee Association, 2020), while kerbside pick-up has become the preferred option for 18% of consumers since mid-March (Sprudge, 2020).

    Australian consumers are opting for the highbrow instant coffee formats we note in Coffee’s Next Chapter with sales of premium instant spiking 48% as in-person café visits dropped by 39% between March and April 2020 (Nielsen, 2020).

    Canadian shoppers have embraced home-grown coffee brand Tim Hortons, with 23% purchasing the brand’s beans from supermarkets as the number of people frequenting cafés halved from 91% in early March to 46% during the last week of April (Field Agent Canada, 2020).

    Cafés remain top of mind for UK consumers, with 42% reporting they missing cafés during lockdown, the second-most missed activity after seeing family and friends (Allegra Strategies, 2020).

  • Tea Fuels Remote Connections: During lockdown, Britons drank an extra two cups of tea daily (Hull Live, 2020). London-based Teapigs started remote tastings, seizing the virtual event boom we detail in Leveraging Live-Steam Commerce. Viewers purchase tasting packs, which the host teaches them how to prepare and appraise. Mainstream tea companies also integrated themselves into lockdown routines via Zoom backgrounds (from Yorkshire Tea) and ads featuring user-generated content (UGC) of remote tea breaks (from PG Tips).

    In the US, specialty retailers like GS Haly reported tripled sales during April (Forbes, 2020), reflecting the fast-evolving market we profile in The Evolving Tea Landscape.