South Korea's love for coffee continues to grow, with the value of the country's coffee imports reaching US $916.5 million in 2021, an increase of 24.2% from the previous year.
The Korea National Council of Consumer Organizations has reported that 70% of South Korean adults consume at least one cup of coffee daily, with an average monthly cost of US $84.
According to a survey conducted by Hyundai Research Institute, adults in South Korea over the age of 20 drink an average of 353 cups of coffee per year, which is almost one cup per day. In comparison, adults in the rest of the world consume 132 cups per year, or 0.36 cups per day. This means that the coffee consumption in South Korea is three times the global average.
The trend of frequenting coffee shops is also on the rise in South Korea. The Korea Consumer Agency published a survey in July 2022 that revealed that individuals visit cafes an average of 11.7 times per month. Men were found to frequent coffeehouses more than women.
As per data from the Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation and the Korean National Tax Service, the number of coffee shops in Korea reached a record high of 88,363 by the end of 2021, and nearly 99,000 by the end of 2022. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, 12,889 new coffee shops were opened in 2020.
Coffee products in South Korea are mainly sold through three different channels: retail companies, specialty coffeehouses, and local food producers. These producers import coffee as a raw material and then sell the finished products through retail channels.
Brazil, Vietnam, and Colombia are the major exporting countries for green beans and soluble coffee to South Korea, while roasted coffee beans are mainly imported from the USA. Italy and Switzerland also have a significant presence in the market with their capsule coffee sales under the roasted beans category.