Coffee sales in South Korea hit a fresh record high of over $10 billion last
year thanks to robust demand for brewed coffee with high unit costs, government
A total of 26.5 billion cups of coffee were consumed
throughout last year, meaning each Korean drank 512 cups per year, given its
population of about 51.77 million.
According to data released by Korea
Customs Service on Sunday, coffee sales in Korea reached 11.74 trillion won
($10.99 billion) in 2017, up more than three times from a decade ago. By the
number of cups, about 26.5 billion cups of coffee were sold last year, up 30
percent from 20.4 billion in 2007. By type, coffee mix products led the pack
with 13.05 billion cups, followed by brewed coffee with 4.8 billion cups, canned
coffee with 4.05 billion cups, instant coffee with 3.1 billion cups and instant
brewed coffee with 1.6 billion cups.
The rapid growth of the Korean
coffee market was led by brewed coffee with a relatively expensive price per
cup. In result, sales of brewed coffee soared to 7.85 trillion won from the 900
billion won level a decade ago. The price of a cup of brewed coffee stood at
1,636 won, way higher than canned coffee’s 473 won and instant coffee’s 201 won.
“South Korea is a country with growth potential because per capita
consumption of coffee is still far below that of Luxembourg, Finland, Norway,
Germany and the United States,” said a source from the coffee industry.
The Korean coffee market, which had been dominated by coffee mix and
instant coffee products, went through a change with the appearance of major
coffee chains like Starbucks and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in the 2000s. One
recent trend is an increase in the number of small roaster coffee shops which
are commonly seen in advanced countries.