Specialist coffee shops and convenience stores gained popularity rapidly over the review period thanks to significant growth in store numbers. Convenience stores showed a strong presence in soft drinks but was less prominent in coffee due to franchised coffee specialist outlets and established coffee brands.
Coffee in South Korea has been in period of transition and coffee imports peaked in 2017 according to the Korea Customs Service. Instant coffee mixes remained the largest category in coffee in 2018 but health-conscious consumers and millennials with sophisticated preferences triggered high demand for healthier coffee such as fresh coffee, premium instant coffee and fresh coffee beans.
Dongsuh Foods remained the dominant player in coffee but its retail value share declined over the review period, driven by the growing popularity of fresh coffee and premium coffee. The company’s share declined in 2018 despite frequent promotions and growing sales of premium instant coffee brand Kanu, which was the bestselling brand in that category.
Starbucks achieved the highest sales in 2017 of over KRW1.2 trillion, while the five largest local franchised coffee houses together registered sales of KRW0.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Hot Drinks market research database.