Beverage News / Tea and Coffee

NCA tracks coffee consumption by generation

Survey shows total category consumption highest among mature consumers

September 26, 2013

The National Coffee Association (NCA), New York, published “Coffee Across Generations,” a new report in the NCA's “National Coffee Drinking Trends” market research series analyzing the differences in coffee consumption behaviors and attitudes among different generations.

"Understanding how coffee consumption patterns vary by age is critical to a marketer's successful strategies," said NCA President and Chief Executive Officer Robert F. Nelson in a statement. "With today's widely acknowledged generational differences in temperament, attitude and behavior, it is more important than ever to custom fit marketing approaches to attract and sustain a diverse, yet loyal customer base."

In general, “Coffee Across Generations” reveals that total coffee consumption skews older, while the consumption of gourmet coffee beverages trends younger. Other data show that more mature groups are more likely to use a drip coffee maker, while the younger cohorts favor espresso machines and ready-to-drink coffee. Awareness of single-serve brewers is higher among the older groups, but predisposition to buy one is stronger among younger consumers.

Specifically, the report notes that 78 percent of millennials said they have consumed coffee within the last year, compared with 85 percent of those in Generation X, 86 percent of baby boomers, and 90 percent of more mature consumers. The spread was more pronounced for daily consumption at 47 percent, 68 percent, 72 percent and 80 percent, respectively.

However, for gourmet coffee beverages, the trend is reversed. Seventy-four percent of millennials said they have consumed a gourmet coffee beverage within the last year, compared with 72 percent of Generation Xers, 59 percent of baby boomers, and 53 percent of the more mature consumers.

Regarding coffee brewing methods, 62 percent of the more mature group said they use a drip coffee maker, compared with 53 percent of millennials. As for single-serve brewing systems, 88 percent of baby boomers and 90 percent of the more mature group said they are aware of these machines, compared with 76 percent of millennials. However, approximately one-quarter of millennials and Generation Xers said they would be likely to buy a single-serve brewer, whereas 12 percent of baby boomers and 8 percent of the more mature group said the same.

Other data in the report span a wide array of consumption choices, patterns, frequency and attitudes. The detailed tracking data broken out by generational groups includes: consumption time of day; share of cups of gourmet versus non-gourmet coffee; at-home versus out-of-home consumption; place of preparation and consumption; breakouts of coffee types and gourmet sub-types; coffee additive preferences; coffee and health attitudes; workplace coffee satisfaction; packaging format; and, for single-serve brewers, the time owned, purchase likelihood, types of beverages made and quality attitudes. For more information, visit the NCA website.

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