Smartkarma Originals

Tea/Coffee Chains: As Asians Acquire a Taste for Coffee, Novelty Seems Like the Way Forward for Tea

Historically, tea dominated the Asian beverages market, but over the last few years we are seeing a renewed interest in coffee and coffee-based beverages among Asians. Meanwhile, the tea industry is focusing on new products/trends such as bubble tea and fruit-infused tea to counter the threat posed by coffee as well as to provide a growth driver to counteract stagnant demand.

The younger generation favors the bubble tea and fruit tea trends, meaning that teahouses have been a tremendous success over the last four to five years. However, we think bubble tea and fruit tea lack the ability to encourage consumers to make regular purchases, affecting the long-term foot traffic of teahouses. Meanwhile, tea is generally less profitable than coffee. On the other hand, the coffee trend is more long-lasting. It also has the potential to generate superior returns/profitability over the medium/long term.

Nevertheless, there are both good apples and bad apples in both camps (coffee and tea). In this insight, we take a look at a few coffee and tea chains in China, Japan, and South Korea, assessing the long-term investment and business cases for our top picks in those markets.

What’s Original?

In this original, we discuss the value chain, costs of production and global demand and supply conditions in the tea and coffee markets. Additionally, we look at the emerging trends and the unit cost dynamics within tea/coffee chains in Asia, focusing on the three biggest tea/coffee markets in the region (China, Japan and South Korea). Furthermore, we briefly talk about popular tea/coffee chains and highlight the long-term investment and business cases for our top picks in the above markets.

LightStream Research • Equity Analyst • (Opens in a new window) ⧉

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