Taipei, Local coffeehouses and convenience stores which serve coffee are seeking to jockey for a larger share of Taiwan's handmade tea drinks market despite an apparently saturated market.
Taiwanese people love tea, and also tea-based drinks. Handmade milk tea drinks, or bubble tea, is the country's most representative beverage, which has also gained huge popularity in Asia, America and Europe.
With the love for handmade tea drinks continuously growing in Taiwan since it first gained popularity some 30 years ago, tea drink shops have become a common sight throughout the country.
On average, a Taiwanese handmade tea drink consumer buys the product 4.3 times per month, while a heavy imbiber consumes the drink eight times per month, according to a market study.
It has been estimated that there are over 20,000 tea drink shops in Taiwan.
The scale of Taiwan's tea market reaches around NT$150 billion (US$3.94 billion) per year, with one-third absorbed by handmade tea drink shops, a business source said, noting that "Taiwan's tea business would die if local young men gave up drinking handmade tea drinks."
According to tallies compiled by Starbucks Corp., an established American coffeehouse chain, Taiwan is one of the 11 markets in the Asia-Pacific region in which people consume more tea than coffee. Eying the love of Taiwanese people for tea-based drinks, the company said that edging into the local handmade tea drink market is one of its top strategies this year.
In line with the strategy, Starbucks in Taiwan has recently test-marketed three different handmade fruit tea-based drinks, with the first two to be regularly served at its outlets across Taiwan in the future.
Apart from handmade tea drinks, Starbucks now also provides a wider range of tea drinks, such as potted tea drinks, icy tea drinks and tea-based sparkling drinks, as part of efforts to lure more customers.
Starbucks said it hopes that the sale of tea drinks will grow to account for 20 percent of its overall sales this year, up from around 10 percent in 2018.
Stressing that the tea drinks market in Taiwan still has strong potential for growth, the coffee shop chain said the aggregate sales of tea drinks at its outlets in Taiwan have climbed by over 40 percent since 2016.
President Chain Store Corp. and Taiwan FamilyMart Co., Ltd., two major convenience store chains, have also edged into the tea drink market after discovering that tea drinks could be their niche products.
President has rolled out a brand of its own tea-based drinks at some of its 7-Eleven convenience stores that include pearl milk tea and pearl milk red tea.
FamilyMart, collaborating with world famous tea brand Twinings from London, has already marketed a series of fruit tea drinks at its shops for the last year.
Source: Overseas Community Affairs Council