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NCA Study Gauges Boomers' Role In Spurring Premium Coffee Sales

Posted On: 8/23/2005

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NEW YORK CITY - The National Coffee Association of USA is releasing a new resource for coffee marketers this month. The new NCA report offers a statistical analysis of coffee habits among the industry's core group of consumers, the "Baby Boomer" generation.

This age cohort, born during the post-World War II boom that extended from the late '40s to through the early '60s, constitutes a third of the total U.S. population. And NCA research has found that the Boomers consume almost half of all the coffee drunk by Americans each year.

"For decades, this large segment has driven the lion's share of American coffee consumption," the association explained. "Brought up on coffee, they see it as both a staple in their daily diet as well as a loved beverage that, in expanding varieties, can be enjoyed in new ways. They hold strong allegiance to the coffee they drink in large volumes, and offer the largest, primed segment for new varieties being brought to market."

NCA's Market Research Committee identified the behavior of the Boomers as a topic offering substantial added value to the industry, as marketing and product development efforts target wider offerings to changing consumer tastes. "Successfully tapping Baby Boomers means enormous opportunities, due to sheer volume and commitment to the coffee category," the association pointed out.

The new NCA Baby Boomers' Report, which joins other market analyses in the National Coffee Drinking Trends series, explains that this segment is far larger than any other age group. About 50 million Boomers drink coffee every day, representing a total daily intake of 184 million cups , or 67 billion cups a year.


The Boomers also were found to surpass the overall population, and members of other age brackets, not only in the percentage that drinks coffee but also in the amount of coffee consumed. NCA's research found that 60% of Boomers drink coffee every day, compared with 53% of the population as a whole, 41% of "Generation X" (25 to 39 years old) and 26% of "Generation Y" (18 to 24 years of age).

As might be expected, Boomers on average also consume more coffee per day than members of other age groups, especially the younger ones. The average Boomer drinks 3.7 cups of coffee a day, compared with average consumption for the entire population of 3.4 cups.

Further analyzed as "older" and "younger" Boomers, the younger ones (40 to 49 years of age) exhibited the greatest average consumption, 3.9 cups per day. The older group, aged 50 to 59, averaged 3.5 cups per day. NCA added that, interestingly, fewer of the younger Boomers drink coffee, but those who do are inclined to drink more of it.

The NCA research also disclosed underdevelopment in gourmet coffee beverage consumption by Boomers, notwithstanding their primacy among coffee drinkers. The age cohort was just two percentage-points ahead of the overall population in average daily and annual consumption of gourmet coffee drinks, and it actually lagged by two percentage-points in weekly consumption.

"Bridging this gap with targeted marketing and product development hinges on understanding the behaviors unique to this group, including such indicators as frequency of out-of-home consumption, coffee type preferences, and timing and purchase location propensities," the association explained.

This is the kind of information presented in great detail by the report, which offers extensive segment-specific data, often broken down further into "younger" and "older" Boomer subsegments.

Detailed charts and graphs include weekly and annual consumption of coffee and gourmet coffee beverages, types of coffee consumed, roast preferences by generational group, comparative data with competing beverages by generation; location of consumption and share of cups by location, with generational breakouts.

Also available from NCA is the 2005 edition of National Coffee Drinking Trends. This year's publication includes new single-serve brewer use information, and an overview of consumers' initial response to the launch of single cup coffee.

NCA research materials can be reviewed and ordered online by visiting the association's website, Information also may be had by calling NCA headquarters at (212) 766-4007.