RSS FEED Subscribe in iTunes

Main Topic: Marketing Coffee in a Tea Culture

Hosts: Stephen Huang , James Stanworth , Clyde Warden

If there is one beverage Chinese culture can be clearly linked to, it would be tea. Tea, and its related rituals, has diffused throughout the past centuries around the world. Yet into this stronghold, coffee marketers have boldly gone, and succeeded, although the results may not be exactly what was expected. Unique cultural values have created a coffee market that has special opportunities. In this show, our panel of coffee drinkers discuss the marketing strategies used over the past couple decades, the current coffee market, and future directions and opportunities.

This topic has an accompanying research show (show 10) for marketing researchers. It includes details on research methodologies and findings mentioned in this show. To view the supplement and other research related shows, register and/or sign in.

With tea and tea related products and retail locations all over the greater China region, it is hard to see how coffee products could get a foothold, not to mention thrive, as they are doing. Since the mid 1980s the Mr. Brown brand has created the ready to drink coffee market. After more than 20 years of exposure, Chinese drinking habits had moved enough to accept coffee and the onslaught of Starbucks and 85c. That early influence, however, has created a preference for sweet drinks and accompanying snacks that may not fit well with the coffee culture often emphasized by Western coffee retailers, including Starbucks.

Starbucks have a one size fits all marketing plan, 85c fits the gap by satisfying the local needs.


The Show:

Length: 27 minutes. Download MP3 12.57MB (Right click->Save As).



Consumer Cam ConsumerCam:

Vid. 1) Making coffee at home previously tended to be a high end hobby involving vacuum brewing. Today this expert market often centers on social gatherings as in this video, where coffee takes on tea ceremony aspects.
Vid. 2) Specialty coffee shops cater to coffee connoisseurs. These shops were the only places to find real coffee beens for many years.
Vid. 3) Supermarkets are flooded with 3in1 coffee. Coffee is generally seen as a sweet drink.
Vid. 4) Supermarkets are more flooded with tea though, and not instant.
Vid. 5) Starbucks outside of Taipei tend to be in dense shopping districts only.
Vid. 6) 85c locates where consumers can stop in fast for takeaway.
Vid. 7) 85c design emphasizes pushing the inside of the store out, which fits well with local retailing.
Vid. 8) 85c beats Starbucks in the local market through catering to the bread/snack market.
Vid. 9) 85c fits product packing well with local take out needs.
Vid. 10) Vacuum coffee brewing; a very common way to make coffee in Asia.

Show Links:

Bottom Line:

  • In the 80’s coffee was a hobby among experts; it was not a common drink.
  • In the 90’s the market grew for importers, Mr. Brown (Ready to drink coffee) became popular.
  • 85c is the market leader in Taiwan; the bakery is very popular. People like to socialize there.
  • Starbucks in store environment is more suitable for the western culture. E.g. people reading, and enjoy quite time.
  • Starbucks targets the middle/high class people, people with cars (They don’t offer take-away bags).
  • 85C often have seats outside, people see others enjoying themselves, it becomes an automatic crowd drawer.
  • Starbucks’ setting is more closed in, when you go there, it’s an active decision.
Category: Podcasts

Related Items

Login Form

Create a new account or use your GMail credentials to sign in.