Move over coffee, tea is back in town

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Brought to you by Retail Insider and K3 Retail

We all know you cannot walk along a high street or venture into a shopping centre without tripping over branded coffee bars. And just when you thought we must be close to reaching saturation point, think again.

The UK branded coffee shop segment is set to reach to 9,400 outlets and hit £6 billion of annual sales by 2021, according to the Project Café 2017 UK Report from Allegra. And taking this even further out the market could exceed as many as 32,000 outlets, with a turnover of £16 billion by 2025. God forbid, there are even predictions that specialist coffee outlets might even outnumber pubs in the UK by 2030.


T2: making tea relevant today

It makes you want to sit down and have a cup of tea. Well, it so happens that the market for tea is also beginning to brew up nicely – or even percolate – as findings from Mintel show tea becoming increasingly popular among younger people. Those aged 25-34 years-old are twice as likely to drink speciality teas compared with the over-55 year-old age group.

This thirst for tea is being quenched by specialist retailers including Whittard and T2. The former hit the buffers in 2008 when it went into administration but today under new ownership it is on the expansion trail again – potentially with kiosks in travel locations as well as more regular stores. It has also added a Tea Bar to its Covent Garden outlet in a bid to add a bit more theatre.

Newcomer T2 – founded in Australia – is also aggressively expanding, having spotted the opportunity in the UK for a renaissance in tea drinking. It also puts a great emphasis on the in-store experience and has a tasting table in each outlet where customers can sample a variety of interesting brews.

Tea Café Yumchaa is also tapping into the trend and has plans for more sites to add to its existing six units, which focus on offering an alternative to the now ubiquitous coffee bars. Like coffee itself, as well as beer, cheese and chocolate, there is a growing taste for more individual food and drink products that reflect a growing desire for artisanal goods and an increasing appetite for provenance.

There is a long way to go before the number of tea stores reaches that of coffee shops but the journey has clearly started and the market for tea looks to be brewing rather nicely.

Glynn Davis, editor of Retail Insider

K3 Retail deliver multi-channel solutions that enable retailers to create joined up shopping experiences for their customers whether they choose to buy on-line, direct, in-store or via mobile. It has over 20 years’ experience delivering award winning solutions, to more than 175 internationally recognised retail brands.