NCA Drinking Trends Survey Show Daily Coffee Consumption Up Sharply

Posted On: 4/9/2018

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AUSTIN, TX -- Americans drinking coffee on a daily basis increased to 62%, up from 57% in 2016, according to the National Coffee Association's 2018 National Coffee Drinking Trends (NCDT) consumption tracking report, which collects and organizes data from interviews with about 3,000 people early each year.

The increase brings past-day overall coffee consumption back above 2014 levels, reversing slow declines since 2013.

Among the drivers behind the increase was soaring consumer enthusiasm for gourmet coffee varieties across most demographics. Another key driver was a robust increase in past-day coffee drinking among younger consumers, whose consumption data is being debuted in this year's NCDT and detailed in a separate report, Generational Report: Coffee Through the Ages, which compares and contrasts consumer behaviors and attitudes across generational lines and, for the first time, presents data on Generation Z, those 13 to18 years of age.  .

"More of us are drinking coffee, and younger consumers appear to be leading the charge," said NCA president and chief executive Bill Murray. "A steadily growing taste for gourmet varieties is also driving a wider trend toward specialty beverages."

While the frequency of daily consumption continued to grow for all age groups, the most robust increase occurred among those 13 to 18, whose daily consumption rose to 37% in 2017 from 31% in 2016, capping a 14-point increase over 2014's 23%. The 40 to 59 group showed an 11-point uptick over last year -- moving from 53% in 2016 to 64% in 2017 -- but the increase essentially restored levels seen in 2014. Those 60-plus moved to 68% in 2017 from 64% last year, while the 25-to-39-year-olds increased from 60% to 63%, and the 18 to 24 cohort edged up to 50% from 2016's 48%.

However, when gourmet coffee beverages are singled out, the changes were even more dramatic. Compared with last year, daily consumption among those 40 to 59 jumped to 39% in 2017 versus 24% in 2016. Consumption increases among the other age groups were: 36% to 39% for those 18 to 24, 41% to 50% for the 25-to-39-year-olds, and 24% to 34% among the 60-plus cohort. And among 13-to-18-year-olds, 29% drank a gourmet coffee beverage yesterday, compared with 19% for traditional coffee, and a 70% share of the cups they drank were
gourmet versus 30% non-gourmet.

Clearly, consumer enthusiasm for gourmet varieties also drove the year's overall consumption increase. The 2017 results show the largest one-year increase  in past-day espresso-based beverages in NCDT history -- a jump from 18% to 24%.

In another NCDT record, more than half of all cups of coffee consumed in the past day were gourmet -- 59% in 2017 versus 46% in 2012. "Non-Espresso-Based Beverages," a new category for 2017 consisting of nonespresso, gourmet coffee-based beverages, made a strong debut in past-week consumption: frozen blended (14%), cold brew (11%) and nitrogen-infused (3%).

Single-cup brewing continues to grow exponentially in 2017. New data shows that nearly one-third of American households (33%) now own a single-cup brewer, up from 29% in 2016. That means since 2012, ownership has grown nearly five-fold.

Additionally, 13-to-18-year olds reported that single-cup ownership in their households jumped from 23% to 31% over the past two years.
Purchase intent also increased -- those who would "definitely or probably buy" a single-cup brewer jumped to 17% in 2017, up from 10% in 2016. Similarly, definite or probable gifting intent jumped by 5 percentage points over last year.

The National Coffee Drinking Trends study has been conducted annually by the NCA since 1950. It is the longest available statistical series of consumer drinking patterns in the U.S.