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Mar 24, 2015

The Changing Tides of Coffee

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It is an interesting time in the coffee maker market. The total coffee machine market declined in Canada by -15% in dollars YoY in 2014, largely driven by single serve coffee machines, which declined -17% in the same period. The decline was even greater in the fourth quarter.

This makes sense to me. When the single serve coffee market was developing and new, pod coffee machines were a hot gift item. However, now the market is more mature and the number of new customers to the category is declining. In our February Omnibus consumer panel study, we found 42% of respondents currently own a single serve coffee system, and less than half of those consumers intend to replace their machine in the next 3 years. Also, of people without a single serve machine, 75% have no intent to purchase one, and only 10% intend to buy one in the next year. To me, it looks like there aren’t many first time buyers remaining in the single serve machine market.

Despite the single serve market seeming to be moving into a more mature stage, there are some interesting bright spots in the coffee market that point to further opportunities. In my household, my single serve machine has been a gateway into the world of coffee, and I suspect for many other consumers as well. I have friends that use a single serve on weekday mornings for speed, and then use a more time and labour intensive manual method (such as pour over coffee, French press, and cold brewing) on the weekend.

Coffee grinder sales may be an indicator of the growth of these non-electric methods of coffee brewing, having grown 7% in units year over year in 2014. Some of the more exciting products I saw showcased at the International Home and Housewares Show in Chicago last week included an electric siphon coffeemaker and an electric pour over machine from KitchenAid – making these traditionally manual methods easier for the end user. Drip coffee makers YoY declines have been steadily shrinking since August 2014. If this trend continues, drip coffee may start to recover some of the volume it has lost to single serve over the last few years, and with new innovations bringing premium or gourmet coffee brewing methods into more homes, the coffee world remains exciting as ever.

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