The Stats: Two thirds of South Africans start their day with some form of coffee

Friday, 29 September, 2023

We're not generally in the habit of publishing Press Releases, but this one has some very interesting and encouraging information from data company Eighty20 about the consumption of coffee in South Africa. Confirming what we already know - that there is so much room for growth in the SA market!

Have a look and see for yourself!

International Coffee Day takes place on October 1st, an occasion that is used to promote and celebrate coffee as a beverage worldwide.  With key data leaning toward the reliance of the beverage to kick-start and carry the masses through the day. To mark this day on the calendar, Eighty20 has collated a more localised snapshots of South Africans and their coffee consumption. 

Nobody really knows when the cultivation of coffee started, but it is very likely that it originated in Africa. There is an Ethiopian legend of a goat herder who noticed that when his goats ate the berries from a certain tree, they were more energetic and unable to sleep at night. He reported his findings to the abbot of a local monastery, who made a drink with the berries and found that it kept him alert in the evenings. Knowledge of this beverage soon spread to the Arabian Peninsula and beyond. Currently, global production of coffee is more than 10 million tonnes per year and it is estimated that over 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed daily around the world.

Stats SA noted that hot beverages have seen a significant price increase, with annual inflation for hot beverages growing from 8.7% in June to 9.0% in July, with instant coffee growing from 10.3% to 11.5%. Eighty20 gathered some local caffeine fuelled insights into the brands and caffeinated beverages South Africans continue to enjoy, despite the rising cost.

The MAPS dataset, surveying more than 20,000 South Africans, gives insight into local coffee consumption behaviour.  Approximately 21.7-million people (two-thirds of our adult population) start their day with a cup of coffee. The survey segments that consumption into several caffeinated categories, with the most popular being instant coffee with a whopping daily consumption by 19.8-million South Africans.  

“More than half of coffee drinkers consume Ricoffy, a clear South African favourite that is drunk by more people than the next two top brands combined (Frisco and Jacobs Kronung),” says Andrew Fulton, Director at Eighty20. 

In terms of other caffeinated drinks, tea is consumed on a daily basis by 18.6-million people, with only 2-million drinking coffee or tea capsules, and closer to 1.4-million enjoying ground coffee on a daily basis. Rooibos is also worth noting, as it’s enjoyed by nearly 14-million South Africans.

Vida e Caffé is a significant player in the South African coffee market with over 290 stores. According to Darren Levy, CEO at Vida, the coffee sector has shown good growth and surprising resilience amid a tough economic climate. Post 2020 Vida has opened more than 90 stores with a presence in six countries including South Africa. The coffee brand hasn’t seen any buying down from customers, although cold and iced caffeinated alternatives have been showing strong growth, following a global trend. Levy also noted that the brand has had to work hard to identify and respond to customer needs and trends, by ensuring its offering remains affordable while increasing both its beverage and complementary food ranges. In addition, Vida has invested in functional areas in its stores to cater for increased ‘work from coffee shop’ customers.

“Our stores serve more than just your daily coffee, it's a place to connect and enjoy the full experience and “Vida vibe”. During load-shedding, given the backup power solutions in all stores, customers utilise our spaces for coffee, food and much-needed power and connectivity.” says Levy.

“One would think that with the ubiquity of coffee shops in major South African metros the number of ground coffee drinkers would be higher. The MAPS data shows that it is the wealthier population who are drinking ground coffee, with more than a quarter of all ground beans being consumed by the smaller group of LSM 9-10.  According to BrandMapp, a survey of South Africans who live in households that earn more than R10 000 per month, Woolworths Café (21%), Seattle Coffee (16%), Starbucks (15%) and Vida e Caffé (12%) are the top four coffee stores in South Africa that survey respondents plan to visit sometime this year,” concludes Fulton.

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