SEOUL, Feb. 17 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s imports of coffee declined last year for the first time since 2012, suggesting that the boom of coffee shops might have peaked, data showed Sunday.
Imports of coffee fell to 143,000 tons in 2018, down 2,600 tons from a year ago, according to data by the Korea Customs Service.
It was the first time in six years that the annual volume of coffee imports fell, the data showed.
South Korea’s coffee imports had been on a steady rise in recent years, with inbound shipments stood at 145,600 tons in 2017, 141,000 tons in 2016 and 128,000 tons in 2015.
Market watchers said that the decline in coffee imports is a sign that the domestic market has become saturated, with big companies, such as Starbucks and Dongsuh Foods continuing to grow, while small coffee shops are suffering from weaker sales and tougher competition.