Why younger people are not drinking tea.

by chee Leng (on coffee makers)
(Singapore)

Nescafe Famous Red Mug

Nescafe Famous Red Mug

Market analyst Mintel published a report recently that traditional tea market is shrinking.


This segment is defined as age 16 to 24 and the sampling is done in UK, traditionally the domain of English tea.

In this survey, it is found that only 50% of this segment enjoys English tea compared to 90% for the segment of over 65 years old.

This segment lost to fruit teas, green tea and rooibos (this tea is making a lot of news, in another article, it is going to get utz certified).

Of course, coffee is the main culprit for luring the young adults away from the traditional tea. Think about it, have you seen a specialty tea coffee, or a tea house serving only tea before?

With the boom in specialty coffee shop and cafe, tea is always the complimentary drink, never the main fare.

Even for home consumption, tea is always marketed as the "we also have that", accompanying coffee solutions.

Sure, there are some big tea companies around, but compared to coffee, they are dwarfs. Lipton market share in Singapore is a couple of percent of the market, on the other hand, Nespresso a subsidiary of Nestle, has the whole single serve coffee market!

Just take a look at the world's biggest food company for an indication on the disparity on coffee and tea. Nespresso spend millions just to get George Clooney to appear on their ads .

And Nescafe set aside 24 million for a campaign known as coffee at its brightest.

Nestea on the other hand was packaged together with their food services solutions and are simply marketed as an out of home drinks solution.

Without exposure, how can tea drinking grow?

In addition, the variety of solutions that are available for coffee allows it to grow versus tea. You can use drip, french press, cold brew, or drink coffee as an espresso.

For tea, it is just tea.

The lack of solutions restricted the growth. That is the reason why iced and flavored tea is growing, RTD (ready to drink) format is what the younger generation is looking for.

Coffee has plenty of ready to drink solutions, tea does not. It remains to be tea leaves in filter bags.

MY $0.02 is that nothing much would change for tea, the decline is worldwide, even in Japan and China, the forecast is coffee would be the no. 1 preferred beverage if not this year, then within the next few years.

By the way, I wrote another article reflecting this trend in a survey that was done in India. Just to highlight that tea is already in decline in two major cities traditionally known for tea consumption

And a lot have to do with the positioning that coffee has -consumers associated drinking coffee as being cooler. In a way, it is, don't you think so?

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