Analysis: America’s Coffee Addiction

Pattern Data Science

September 16, 2021

For millions of Americans, coffee is far more than another beverage. It’s a crucial part of their morning routine, a vital midday pick-me-up, and/or the only way to make it through the day.

According to the National Coffee Association, 7 in 10 Americans drink coffee every week, 62% drink it every day, and the average coffee drinker drinks about 3 cups of coffee per day.

It’s no wonder, then, that the beverage has its very own Holiday. National Coffee Day falls on September 29th every year (shortly before International Coffee Day on October 1st). As National Coffee Day approaches, it got us wondering how this past year has impacted the way Americans consume their coffee.

Did COVID-19’s lockdowns result in people stockpiling coffee beans? Did people spend their stimulus checks on a fancy new espresso machine? And if so, have we seen trends shift back to normal in 2021?

As always, we dove deep into our data to uncover insights into how COVID-19 may have impacted online shopping for coffee supplies, how 2021 looks so far, and what that might mean for the future.

Americans stocked up on coffee supplies during initial weeks of COVID-19 lockdowns

There are a lot of layers to analyzing online demand for coffee. People shop online for everything from coffee beans and filters, to high-end coffee makers and espresso machines, and everything between.

So, to keep things simple, we started our analysis with a broad look at online demand for all things related to coffee, starting in January of 2020 through this year so far.

Unsurprisingly, online demand for items and supplies in the “coffee” category spiked in the first weeks of the initial COVID-19 shutdowns. Online demand stayed quite high as Americans clearly stocked up as local coffee shops closed their doors and grocery store shelves began to empty.

By mid-summer, online demand had dipped to below pre-pandemic levels, but rebounded to new high points during the holidays.

For more context, we next compared monthly demand last year to 2019, and 2021 (so far).

In 2019, online demand drops each month from January through April, before slowly climbing again during late summer and spiking to annual highs in November and December.

In 2020, meanwhile, we can see how the early months of the pandemic altered demand in those typically slower months. The rest of 2020 then followed a similar pattern as 2019, but with demand remaining higher during each month.

So far, 2021 has seen demand remain well above 2019’s levels, and even above 2020’s with the exception of March and April. This suggests that many Americans are still holding onto the “at home” coffee setup they began during the pandemic.

To learn even more about how COVID-19 may have changed our coffee habits, we next dug a a few layers deeper into our data.

Comparing online demand for coffee supplies vs coffee equipment

Online shopping for coffee can be broken down into two primary categories: coffee supplies (beans, filters, etc.), and equipment (coffee makers, kettles, etc.). So we next wanted to see if online demand was different for each of these types of categories.

First, we examined demand for coffee beans and coffee filters, starting with weekly demand for each.

Here we see initial evidence that COVID-19 had a far greater impact on coffee supplies than on coffee equipment. Demand for coffee beans absolutely exploded in the first weeks of lockdown, then remained largely consistent in the weeks following.

Demand for coffee makers held steady in the first weeks of the pandemic, spiking instead on Prime Day 2020, during the holidays, and again on Prime Day 2021. This suggests that during the first months of the pandemic, people were far more likely to stock up on supplies than invest in a whole new coffee making setup.

Now let’s take a look at monthly demand since 2019.

After demand for coffee beans exploded during the earliest months of the pandemic, by 2021 it has actually returned to pre-pandemic levels. Interestingly, demand for coffee makers this year has been consistently far higher than during the spring and summer months of both 2020 and 2019.

This suggests that early on in the pandemic, Americans were far more concerned with stocking up on the essentials, but perhaps after many long months away from their favorite coffee shop, people then began to look to upgrading their coffee making equipment.

Which types of coffee supplies and equipment have been most impacted by COVID-19?

To further test this hypothesis, we took an even closer look at specific types of coffee supplies and equipment. Items like coffee filters, espresso machines, k-cups, gooseneck kettles, and more.

We started by comparing total demand for each of these types of supplies and equipment during March and April 2020 to the same timeframe in 2019 to see which ones were most (or least) impacted by the initial COVID lockdowns.

Again, we see here that coffee supplies received a much larger bump in the first months of the pandemic. Coffee filters saw demand surge by a whopping 157%, while coffee beans and cold brew also experienced large lifts in demand.

Nothing on our list saw demand drop during those months, but coffee-making equipment like French presses, coffee makers saw very little change in demand vs. 2019. Interestingly, K-Cups didn’t receive nearly the type of lift that you’d expect based on the type of lift that other coffee supplies received.

Next, let’s compare online demand during 2021 so far vs the same timeframe in 2019 to better understand the long-term impacts of the past 18 months.

Cold brew saw the biggest increase in demand during 2021 so far compared to the first half of 2019, while espresso machines were a very close second.

Cold brew has grown rapidly in popularity over the past few years, so this is quite likely a combination of shifts in consumer appetites as well as the pandemic driving more people to seek ways to get some tasty cold brew outside of their local coffee shop.

The growth in demand for espresso machines in 2021, meanwhile, suggests that perhaps people grew more interested in upgrading their at-home coffee setup as the pandemic dragged on into this year.

Interestingly, french presses, standard coffee drippers, and K-Cups have seen demand drop the most in 2021 compared to pre-pandemic levels. The extreme drop in demand for K-Cups is extremely interesting. This may be the result of millions of Americans working from home, and K-Cups being an extremely popular office coffee solution. Or it could be signs of a greater shift away from these single-use items.

When we compare monthly demand for K-Cups since 2019, we see some evidence that demand for K-Cups was slowing prior to COVID-19. In fact, demand rose slightly during the initial months of lockdown, only to drop again and continue its downward trend.

This view for cold brew, meanwhile, further suggests that its increase in demand is more due to growth in overall popularity and less to do with pandemic-related shifts. Outside of a moderate bump in March and April 2020, we’ve seen remarkably consistent year-over-year growth from 2019 through 2021 so far.

Finally, a closer look at espresso machines further suggests a potential long-term impact of people spending more and more time at home and less time out at coffee shops. We see very little impact during the initial months of COVID-19, but demand spiked in October 2020 (likely thanks to Prime Day being bumped back to that month last year). It then started 2021 far ahead of January 2019 and 2020, and has remained consistently high throughout the year.

A lesson for brands

Our data shows that making a nice cup of coffee at home is more popular than ever before. The pandemic had a substantial immediate impact on coffee supplies like filters and coffee beans, but we’ve also seen a long term boost for higher-priced items like espresso machines.

Understanding the factors that influence consumer behavior can help brands better understand how to forecast demand for their products on online marketplaces, and even inform product design and marketing strategy.

For example, we’re seeing strong evidence that demand for single-use coffee items like K-Cups appears to be waning, while cold brews are more popular than ever.

Either way, we’ll be keeping a close eye on these trends and more in the coming weeks and months.

To stay up to date on consumer behavior and ecommerce news, info, and trend analyses, be sure to subscribe to Pattern Insights.

And, if you’d like to learn more about how you can best leverage our data to help your brand win online, holiday or not, schedule a demo today.

Explore Our Ecommerce Resource Library

Find relevant content to accelerate your ecommerce business. Stay on top of industry trends and best practices.

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon drives renewable energy push with 71 new projects Amazon is planning to add 2.7 gigawatts of clean energy capacity through a couple of new projects as the company attempts to use 100% renewable energy by 2025. The ecommerce business will soon have a total of 329 renewable energy projects, generating 50,000 gigawatt hours of clean energy, which is equivalent to powering 4.6 million US homes every year. [Read more on Reuters]( Amazon launches Prime Early Access Sale Amazon is launching a new 2-day shopping event for its Prime members only, beginning on the 11th of October. Across 15 countries, Prime customers will have access to the shopping event, with thousands of deals on offer globall, ranging from fashion to electronics to essentials. The event has the purpose of giving Prime users the chance to spread the cost of items over the winter months, 6 weeks ahead of Black Friday. [Read more on Charged Retail]( --- Other Marketplace News --- Shopify unveils new localisation tool Shopify is launching a new localisation tool, called Translate & Adapt, which works with Shopify Markets to offer localisation for sellers who are looking to expand into new markets. The tool translates a user’s online store into different languages, including product pages and information pages. Merchants are also able to create different shipping terms for each market using the new tool, which allows international expansion and offers a more localised consumer experience, unveiling new potential. [Read more on Ecommerce News]( Etsy is set to invest hundreds of millions into its marketing platform Etsy CEO claims that the company is on route to spend more than $570 million USD on marketing this year. Even during a time of macroeconomic pressure, inflation and rising interest rates, the company is preparing itself and its sellers for the upcoming holiday season and is focused on retaining interest from buyers. [Read more on Yahoo News]( --- Other Ecommerce News --- Meta looks to cut costs by 10% in the coming months Meta employees are facing job redundancies as the company plans to cut its costs by 10% over the next few months. Meta reported a 22% YoY increase in costs and expenses, totalling over $20 billion USD. The cuts are expected to come in the form of job redundancies as a result of department reorganisations rather than formal layoffs. [Read more on Charged Retail]( DHL teams up with Quadient to offer smart locker deliveries in the UK DHL and tech company, Quadient, have partnered to offer smart lockers parcel pick-up throughout the UK. The new contactless, secure locker stations will give recipients more choice and flexibility to receive their parcels at a time and location best suited to them. The partnership plans to install 500 locker stations across the country by the end of 2022. [Read more on Charged Retail]( The online fashion market is set to be worth nearly $170 billion USD in 2025 The European online fashion retail market is set to grow 50% by 2025, with an online turnover of $170 billion USD, which is 33% of the retail branch’s total. Cross-border marketplaces prove to be the largest drivers of this growth, with online websites and apps like Vinted largely pushing the market’s online growth. Zalando recently became the largest cross-border fashion retailer/marketplace, responsible for 11.7% of the online market’s share. [Read more on Ecommerce News](

Global Ecommerce: Weekly News (20th September 2022)

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 20th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon to raise pay and add extra work benefits for delivery drivers Following the rise in fuel prices and protests by Amazon workers, the ecommerce giant is raising its delivery drivers’ pay and adding more work benefits. Amazon has mentioned that it will be investing $450 million into rate increases along with an education program and a Delivery Service Partners program. [Read more on Charged Retail]( Amazon announces it will give away shipping software to merchants at no cost Amazon has recently announced that it will be giving ecommerce merchants free software to manage shopper orders on and off its platform as it extends its reach. The ecommerce giant will be ending monthly costs for sellers using Veeqo, a shipping software it recently acquired and instead offer to them a new, free shipping software. [Read more on Charged Retail]( --- Other Marketplace News --- Walmart unveils new virtual fitting rooms In an effort to drive clothing sales, Walmart has launched virtual fitting rooms while competitors reduce spending amid the cost of living crisis. The virtual try-on tool can be used by Walmart customers to virtually measure the clothing items and see how the products would look on them. Shoppers will now be able to see how over 270,000 clothing items on Walmart’s ecommerce site would look on their bodies. [Read more on Charged Retail]( THG slashes sales and profit expectations The Hut Group has slashed its forecasts for 2022 as rising interest rates, inflation and energy costs take a toll on consumers. Previously, THG estimated its sales growth to be between 22-25% but after a recent evaluation, has lowered this prediction to between 10-15%. Initial predictions did not take into account the negative effects of ceasing sales in Russia and Ukraine along with the impact that the cost-of-living has had on consumer spending. [Read more on Charged Retail]( --- Other Ecommerce News --- DHL and Post Office team up to provide click and collect services Through a partnership between delivery company, DHL and Post Office, a new click and collect service is to be tested at Post Offices before rolling out to over 1000 branches across the UK. Online shoppers will now have the option of choosing their local Post Office as a collection point, and DHL will fulfil the delivery aspect, opening up networks for both parties. [Read more on Charged Retail]( US consumer watchdog plans to further regulate the BNPL sector The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has raised concerns regarding the collection of consumer data and the fast-growing nature of the BNPL sector, which includes companies such as Affirm and Klarna. The CFPB is worried that these companies could be negatively impacting consumers’ financial health and aims to put better regulations in place to ensure consumers are safe and empowered. [Read more on Charged Retail]( Japanese ecommerce market estimated to grow by 6.9% in 2022 The ecommerce market in Japan, largely dominated by domestic online retailers including Reakuten and Mercari, is set to reach $194.3 billion USD in 2022, after seeing an annual compound growth rate of 5.2% between 2018 and 2021. This makes Japan the fourth leading ecommerce market globally, following China, the US, and the UK. [Read more on Charged Retail]( Ecommerce brands are spending more on TikTok ads TikTok may soon be surpassing Facebook and Google as the most lucrative advertising channel, with ecommerce brands spending 60% more on TikTok ads in Q2. Facebook is still ahead as the top choice for ecommerce advertisers but only grew by 5.6% from Q1, while Google grew 20.5% in Q2, and Snap declined 10.8% in Q2. [Read more on SearchEngineLand](

Global Ecommerce: Weekly News (13th September 2022)

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 13th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon scales back on US warehouse facilities Amazon is shutting down two facilities with 300 employees, discarding plans for 42 facilities, and delaying plans to open a further 21 buildings across the US. The ecommerce giant is scaling back on hiring as well as the expansion of its vast delivery network, as it was left with an excess of space following its rapid expansion during the pandemic. [Read more on Business Insider]( --- Other Marketplace News --- is ‘betting’ on ecommerce grocery market Amidst a slowing economy and a decline in ecommerce, Chinese ecommerce giant has increased its urgency to seek new growth engines. The company is looking to boost its online grocery business through offline partnerships and expansion into lower-tier cities, where it may be able to unleash more consumption power. [Read more on The Star]( Shopee shuts operations in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico Sea’s ecommerce arm, Shopee, has shut local operations in some LATAM countries but will continue to maintain cross-border operations in a few markets. Latin America is Sea’s most important region following South-east Asia, accounting for close to 19% of its revenue in 2021. The move away from these countries is largely due to increased levels of macro uncertainty and rising interest and inflation rates, and rather putting a focus on its core operations. [Read more on Straits Times]( --- Other Ecommerce News --- Instagram scales back in-stream shopping elements Instagram is re-examining its approach as it hasn’t been able to make ‘fetch’ happen. ‘Fetch’ in this context being the online shopping trends which have become all-consuming in China, and what Western social platforms have been hoping to add into their apps to make them more addictive and revenue-generating. Consumers have not been swayed by the latest shopping tools on TikTok and Instagram, leading to Instagram scaling back its in-stream shopping program. [Read more on SocialMediaToday]( FedEx Express supporting the growth of cross border ecommerce FedEx express has expanded its international commerce shipping service to four more markets across the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) region in an effort to support the strong development of ecommerce in this region. Three of the fastest growing markets, the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam are leading Southeast Asia’s ecommerce sales, which is set to reach $100 billion by 2023. [Read more on Post & Parcel]( India ramps up hiring as companies prepare for shoppers Ecommerce companies are getting ready for the festive season by rapidly expanding their temporary workforce. As ecommerce in India grows, the country is predicted to have 372 million online shoppers by the end of 2022. The festive season this year, running from October to December, is expected to see a two-fold increase in logistics and delivery alone. During this period, companies are predicted to add 20% more to their existing workforce base, with a 8-10% higher pay scale compared to last year. [Read more on Business Insider India](