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NCA's 2017 U.S. Coffee-Drinking Trends Include More Gourmet, Younger Consumers

Posted On: 4/4/2017

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TAGS: coffee consumption trends, office coffee service, National Coffee Drinking Trends, coffee consumer survey, National Coffee Association, Bill Murray

AUSTIN, TX -- Americans drinking coffee on a daily basis increased to 62%, up from 57% in 2016, according to the latest National Coffee Drinking Trends consumer survey. The National Coffee Association released its 2017 report, which collects and organizes data from interviews with about 3,000 people, in Austin, TX, in late March.

The increase reflected in the report brings past-day overall coffee consumption back above 2014 levels, reversing slow declines since 2013, NCA said. The study indicates that soaring consumer enthusiasm for gourmet coffee varieties across most demographics was among the drivers behind the increase. Another driver was a robust increase in past-day coffee drinking among younger consumers.

"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 survey suggests that 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, NCA reported.

Those 60-plus moved to 68% in 2017 from 64% last year, while 25-to-39-year-olds increased from 60% to 63%. 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's study, daily consumption among those 40 to 59 jumped to 39% in 2017, compared with 24% in 2016. Consumption increases among the other age groups were 36% to 39% for those 18 to 24, 41% to 50% for 25-to-39 year-olds, and 24% to 34% among the 60-plus cohort.

Among 13-to-18-year-olds, 29% said they drank a gourmet coffee beverage "yesterday," compared with 19% for traditional coffee. A 70% share of the cups they drank were gourmet versus 30% non-gourmet.

Enthusiasm for gourmet varieties also drove the year's overall consumption increase, according to NCA. 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, compared with 46% in 2012.

A new category for 2017 consisting of non-espresso, gourmet coffee-based beverages, made a strong debut in past-week consumption as follows: frozen blended, 14%; cold brew, 11%; and nitrogen-infused, 3%.

Single-cup brewing continues to grow exponentially in 2017, NCA reported. New data suggests 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, NCA said. Thirteen-to-eighteen-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 said they 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 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.