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.

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Sept 27, 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](
Sept 22, 2022

How an Amazon SEO Agency Should Be Serving Your Brand

If you’re in the global ecommerce space, you are most likely aware of Amazon, and probably selling your products on the marketplace. With over $470 billion in sales in 2021 alone, Amazon stands as the third largest company in the world based on revenue. The ecommerce giant is a household name in the U.S. and working hard to grow its market share across five continents worldwide.

Having your products available on Amazon and being competitive there, though, are definitely two different things. If you want to really succeed on Amazon, you’ll need specialized insight into how Amazon works and how to make it work for you. So, for many brands, it’s a great idea to work with an Amazon Search Engine Optimization (SEO) agency.

At Pattern, Amazon SEO optimization service is one of our key competencies. We understand that technology, data-driven insights and expertise  are the most important tools brands can leverage to win top listing spots on digital marketplaces. With expert teams and years of experience, we help brands conquer the Profitability Death Spiral as they compete with other products and sellers online. We offer Amazon SEO agency services as a core solution to brands that need more resources to get ahead. 

What is an Amazon SEO Agency?

An Amazon SEO agency serves brands by improving their products’ rank and listing performance on Amazon. They make strategic decisions about ad spending and placement that lead to higher traffic, conversions, and revenue for ecommerce brands.

A great Amazon SEO Agency partner will:

Prioritize Your Success

Unfortunately, many Amazon SEO agencies profit in unfair ways from your brands’ perceived success based on the ROAS numbers they provide. This is done through including branded search terms in ROAS reports, which naturally skew listing performance

Let’s say, for instance, your brand is called “Annie’s” and you sell lollipops. Your brand has a very high likelihood of winning the top listing spots on Amazon for lollipop search terms that are paired with “Annie’s,” your brand name. So, SEO agencies will spend your ad money on those terms and report a very high ROAS. 

To avoid scenarios like these, it’s best to look for an agency that either calculates their profits on metrics other than your ROAS scores or weighs branded search terms differently in the performance metrics reports. Regardless of your Amazon SEO agency’s cost structure, you should align onbranded search terms before committing to a scope of work.

Provide Detailed Competitive Insight

A great indicator of a high-quality Amazon SEO agency is the level of insight they can provide into your competitors’ listing positioning and how it compares to yours. Data fanaticism is so important at Pattern that we’ve developed proprietary technology to display this exact information with precise detail for every brand we work with. In fact, you can find our free version here to see how you compare to some of your top competitors based on ASIN.

It’s certainly possible to improve your Amazon search performance with blind spending strategies. But a truly great solution will help you to know where your dollars are at their most powerful and competitive.

Reduce Your Ad Spend Over Time

Amazon’s A10 algorithm prioritizes customer satisfaction—it wants to show consumers the best products that align with their search intent to improve conversions and sales. So, the best way to gain momentum on Amazon is to work on incremental wins. 

Improving your performance on more obscure search terms that align with your customers’ search intent is a great way to increase ROAS for the long term. A10 will reward your success with better rankings on higher-volume search terms and the virtuous cycle can help you conquer your most-coveted listing spots. And the best part? This process of gaining momentum, if done right, will naturally decrease your ad spend over time as Amazon recognizes your value and works with you to keep your products at the top of consumers’ search results.

Amazon SEO Optimization and More

As an Amazon SEO specialist, Pattern knows how to help your brand win better success for long-term profitability on Amazon. With our data-driven tools and brilliant teams of ecommerce experts, we help brands with listing management, content optimization, Amazon ad strategies, and more.

Contact us to learn more about our SEO optimization services.

Sept 20, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 20th September 2022

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