Cost-effective, accessible take-out convenience store coffees trending in Korea

가성비·접근성 내세운 “편의점표 커피” 트렌드
The trend in Korea’s coffee market is increasingly leaning toward budget options that still taste great.
Cafes have been providing high-quality coffee at affordable prices…, and now, convenience store chains are wading into the lucrative market.
Kim Mok-yeon reports.

The coffee market in Korea has been expanding at a rapid pace.
From around 2.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2007, its market size in 2017 surpassed the 10 billion dollar mark.
This means that the average Korean drank a total of 512 cups of coffee in 2017.
However amid high coffee prices, the new trend in Korea seems to focus on ‘accessibility’ and ‘cost-effectiveness’.

“Since 2015, many convenience stores in Korea have begun selling take-out brewed coffees for less than 1.4 U.S. dollars, which is nearly one third of the price of a coffee in some franchise coffee shops.”

A manager of a branch of a well-known convenience store said that he has seen sales skyrocket over recent years.

“I think the demand for these coffees is rising because in 2016, our store sold around 8 to 9 cups a day, but lately, we’ve seen sales go up to 32 cups.”

Another popular Korean convenience store chain said that it has sold over a hundred million cups of coffee across its stores since it first launched its brewed coffee service in 2015.
Affordable pastries sold alongside the coffee also seem to catch the eyes of customers.

“I work nearby so I come here often. I tend to reach out for this coffee a lot, not only because it tastes good but because it’s really affordable, and I don’t have to worry about the time when I purchase it”

An expert in the industry says that the latest trend shows that coffee has now become a daily consumable.

“Coffee is not just a beverage anymore in Korea. It has become a part of our daily lives, be it in the morning, or after lunch. So its natural for people to become more cautious about the price.”

She said that with the continuing growth of the market, and with the increasing number of single households in Korea who prioritize convenience, the trend in demand for cheaper, more easy-to-buy products would likely continue in the near future.

Kim Mok-yeon, Arirang News.

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