SEOUL, March 20 (Korea Bizwire) – Marking its 17th anniversary last year, Starbucks Korea’s annual revenue exceeded 1 trillion won for the first time, and much attention is being paid to what is behind the international coffee giant’s long-lived success in the country.
Of the 75 countries that Starbucks currently operates in, only in five countries does the company’s annual sales surpass one trillion won ($893 million), including the U.S., China, Japan, Canada and South Korea. Considering the population and the size of its economy, the success in South Korea seems extraordinary.
The same can’t be said about Australia however, a country where Starbucks launched its business at a similar time. After its first foray into the market back in July 2000, the company once boasted nearly 100 stores around the country. However, after failing to compete with local coffee shop brands, the Withers Group, owner of 7-Eleven, acquired the company in 2014 with 24 stores currently remaining along the east coast of the country.
Starbucks faces an even rockier road In Italy. Home of the espresso, the coffee drinking culture in Italy is deeply entrenched in society.
With a cup of espresso as cheap as one euro in the country and a plethora of privately owned cafes scattered around the country, the American coffeehouse chain recently postponed its original plan to open its first Italian store to June.
Business experts often refer to the fact that most Starbucks drinkers are young females in South Korea when explaining the striking difference between South Korean customers and their Australian and Italian equivalents.
Starbucks has become a symbol of American consumerism among South Korean female customers in their 20s and 30s who account for over 60 percent of the total revenue. Experts also believe the constantly changing seasonal menus add to the appeal.
“Starbucks was able to succeed in the South Korean market as it built its image as a trendy American brand that appeals to young women who like to stay up to date with the latest trends in America,” one industry expert said.
“Many of the popular items on the menu are exclusive to the region, and can’t be found in the U.S. The constant development of new items and our effort to localize Starbucks is a reason behind our success,” said an official from Starbucks Korea.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)