Shanghai takes the lead as Chinese coffee consumption averages 16 cups per year

On 1 May, the Shanghai International Coffee Culture Festival launched. According to the “2024 China City Coffee Development Report” unveiled on the same day, China’s coffee industry amassed a staggering 265.4 billion RMB (approx. 36.66 billion USD) in scale last year, with an average per capita annual consumption of 16.74 cups. In 2023, the number of coffee establishments in Shanghai reached 9,553, surpassing the national count. Concurrently, Shanghai stands as the most concentrated city for foreign-funded coffee enterprises, hosting 2,056 such businesses. Furthermore, Shanghai-based organisations contributed over 40% to the nation’s total raw coffee bean exports last year, solidifying Shanghai’s pivotal role on the global coffee map.

Coffee Carnival is running in Shanghai between 30 April to 4 May. The Carnival introduces premier international coffee brands like Starbucks, Lavazza, COSTA, %Arabica, Luckin, and McCafé, alongside over 50 esteemed local coffee shops. Notably, McCafé collaborated with Chinese animation IP “Naloong” (奶龙), presenting an interactive game onsite and offering blind box gifts to successful participants, alongside complimentary items with coffee purchases and the opportunity to buy a McMuffin at discounted rates. Meanwhile, Starbucks unveiled a limited edition coffee, croissant, spring eco-bags, and stickers, drawing consumers to “check in” (打卡).

Additionally, takeaway, payment, and social media platforms initiated the “Drinking in the City” campaign in Shanghai, poised to invest nearly 100 million RMB (approx. 13.8 million USD) into the consumer market. Among these initiatives, collaborated with Starbucks to launch the “Every Thursday, This Cup is on Me” promotion, offering 550K cups of free coffee, while Xiaohongshu (RED) introduced the month-long “Coffee Stroll in Shanghai” event, unveiling the “78 Choose 3” special coffee map.

Xu Jian, Deputy Dean of Shanghai Jiaotong University’s School of Media and Communication, remarked on the explosion of local brands driving innovation in China’s coffee market, prompting global coffee brands to shape a distinct “Oriental taste”, e.g. Maotai-flavoured latte.

In recent financial disclosures for the second quarter of 2024’s fiscal year, Starbucks revealed promising figures for the Chinese market. With a net increase of 118 shops, marking a 14% year-on-year rise, the total count of Starbucks outlets soared to 7,093. The expansion extended to 20 new cities, encompassing nearly 900 county-level areas. Moreover, Starbucks reported a record-high 90-day active membership scale, exceeding 21 million.


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