SEOUL, Jan. 29 (Korea Bizwire) – The South Korean love affair with Starbucks burned hot last year, as the Seattle-based coffee behemoth revealed it had sold 83.6 million americanos last year, the coffee chain’s number one selling drink for the 11th year running.
South Korea’s population is estimated at 51.6 million (Statistics Korea), meaning that Starbucks sold 1.6 americanos per person.
Other best sellers were caffè lattes (37.5 million), cold brews (11.3 million), dolce lattes (8.5 million) and caramel macchiatos (7.73 million).
After analyzing last year’s sales figures, Starbucks Coffee Korea has designated this year’s four major keywords to be: innovation, variation, sintoburi (meaning local produce is the best) and luxurious.
Starbucks cold brew is believed to be a crucial category where the company can flex its innovative muscle. Referred to by executive chairman Howard Schultz as the coffee company’s vehicle into a new era, cold brews were first introduced domestically in March 2016, and have become increasingly sought after while opening up new opportunities for experimentation at the same time.
With the South Korean consumer base continuing to diversify, trends such as “gashimbi” (an emphasis on emotional/psychological satisfaction in proportion to cost) and “sohwakheng” (a lifestyle trend focusing on finding joy in smaller and simpler things) have also been taken into account.
In addition, specialty coffee sales are steadily rising, with 850,000 reserve coffees, currently only available at 73 locations, having been sold last year.
Starbucks Coffee Korea will also look to further solidify itself as a competitor in providing teas using a wide range of ingredients, many of them acquired from South Korean growers.