Battle of the Brew; Americans Choose Taste Over Convenience When Coffee Shops Go Head to Head

NEW YORK, N.Y. – April 18, 2013 – At a time when Starbucks can be found on practically every corner, have Americans chosen convenience as the deciding factor in where they get their caffeine jolt? Not according to a recent Harris Poll, that suggests consumers – particularly millennials – may have become somewhat of coffee connoisseurs. Results of The Harris Poll of 2,496 U.S. adults surveyed online from February 13-18, 2013 by Harris Interactive found that taste is the top factor in determining where coffee/tea buyers purchase their beverages, and that Americans are willing to go out of their way for their favorite cup of joe. Three in five coffee/tea buyers (60%) said the coffee shop they most frequently visit is their favorite, chosen over a more convenient shop (40%), and this number rises to two-thirds (66%) of those ages 18 to 35.

Chain Reaction

That favorite shop is likely a chain, as coffee and tea buyers said they typically choose a national chain (35%) almost two to one over a local shop (18%). Related findings from the 2013 Harris Poll EquiTrend (EQ) study show that among national and regional chains, Dunkin’ Donuts is top ranked and the Brand of the Year in the coffee and quick service restaurant category. This award is given in each category to the highest ranked brand in Equity, which is based on key factors of Familiarity, Quality and Purchase Consideration. The brands in this category that rank above the category average Equity score are:

  • Dunkin’ Donuts Stores
  • Einstein Bros Bagels
  • Starbucks Coffee Shops

The Caffeinated Generation

Having grown up during the coffee shop boom, younger Americans are, perhaps not surprisingly, leading the charge as the most likely to ever purchase prepared coffee or tea drinks. Seven in ten (71%) of those ages 18-35 say they do so, along with 68% of those ages 36-47. In contrast, 60% of 48-66 year olds and 57% of those ages 67 and older say they ever shell out for these beverages. Millennials who purchase such beverages a few times a week or more are also the most likely to say they’ll give up convenience to go to their favorite place, with two in three (66%) saying the store they frequent most is their favorite, as opposed to settling for a more convenient location.

Best Brew

Taste is the most important factor among all coffee/tea buyers when deciding where to make their purchases; 78% rate it a very important factor in deciding where to buy a beverage, more than 20 percentage points higher than any other factor, including price at 54%. And despite the growing addition of food options on coffee shop menus, less than one in four coffee/tea purchasers (23%) rate the variety of food choices very important, compared with 31% who indicate the same for the selection of beverages.

Coffee Shops Beware?

While Americans may love their Frappuccinos, macchiatos and Coolattas, the convenience of single serve home brewing has been gaining in popularity[1]; one-third of Americans (33%) say they have a single cup brewing system at home and/or work. Among adults with a single cup maker, 70% say they have consciously chosen to use it instead of buying a drink at a coffee shop. In fact, single-cup brewing mainstay Keurig was named the Brand of the Year in the EquiTrend coffee maker category for the second year in a row. The brands in this category ranking above the category average Equity score are:

  • Keurig Coffee Maker
  • Mr. Coffee Coffee Maker
  • Bosch Coffee Maker
  • DeLonghi Coffee Maker
  • Cuisinart Coffee Maker
  • Krups Coffee Maker

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TABLE 1

HOW OFTEN PURCHASE PREPARED COFFEE/TEA DRINKS

[by Age, Gender, Children in HH and Metro Status]

How often do you purchase a prepared coffee or tea drink (hot or cold)?

Base: U.S. Adults

Total

Age

Gender

Children in HH

Metro Status

18-35

36-47

48-66

67+

Males

Females

Yes

No

Urban

Sub-urban

Rural

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Ever purchase (net)

64

71

68

60

57

63

65

71

62

69

61

66

1+ times per week (net)

32

41

34

27

23

35

30

41

29

37

31

29

At least once a day

8

7

11

9

6

10

7

8

8

11

7

7

A few times a week

12

16

10

11

7

12

11

18

9

13

11

11

Once or twice a week

12

18

13

7

11

13

11

14

11

13

12

10

A few times a month

13

14

15

12

14

11

15

11

14

14

12

15

Once a month or less

19

16

19

21

20

17

21

19

19

18

19

22

I don’t purchase coffee drinks

36

29

32

40

43

37

35

29

38

31

39

34

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding


TABLE 2a

IMPORTANCE OF FACTORS IN DETERMINING WHERE TO PURCHASE COFFEE/TEA DRINKS

[Summary Table]

How important are each of the following in deciding where you purchase coffee or tea drinks?

Base: Purchase coffee/tea drinks

 

Very important + Somewhat important

(NET)

Very important

Somewhat important

Not that important + Not at all important (NET)

Not that important

Not at all important

%

%

%

%

%

%

The taste of the coffee

94

78

16

6

2

4

The price of your usual beverage

89

54

35

11

8

3

The location of the coffee shop

86

50

36

14

9

6

The friendliness of the staff

83

38

45

17

13

5

The variety of beverages

74

31

43

26

20

6

The familiarity of the chain

66

24

42

34

23

11

The atmosphere

65

24

41

35

25

10

The variety of food products available

59

23

36

41

27

14

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

 

 

TABLE 2b

IMPORTANCE OF FACTORS IN DETERMINING WHERE TO PURCHASE COFFEE/TEA DRINKS

Summary of Very/Somewhat Important (NET) Ratings [by Age, Gender, Children in HH and Metro Status]

How important are each of the following in deciding where you purchase coffee or tea drinks?

Base: Purchase coffee/tea drinks

Total

Age

Gender

Children in HH

Metro Status

18-35

36-47

48-66

67+

Males

Females

Yes

No

Urban

Sub-urban

Rural

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

The taste of the coffee

94

96

92

92

96

92

95

93

94

94

95

91

The price of your usual beverage

89

94

92

85

84

88

90

91

88

89

88

90

The location of the coffee shop

86

90

89

82

80

82

89

84

86

86

89

78

The friendliness of the staff

83

82

82

83

84

82

83

87

81

83

82

83

The variety of beverages

74

85

76

68

56

68

79

81

71

76

73

74

The familiarity of the chain

66

64

67

66

69

65

67

69

65

70

67

59

The atmosphere

65

72

67

59

60

61

68

72

62

68

66

60

The variety of food products available

59

64

58

56

55

58

60

68

56

64

56

59

Note: Multiple responses


TABLE 3

USUALLY GO TO CHAIN VS. LOCAL SHOP FOR COFFEE/TEA DRINK

[by Age, Gender, Children in HH and Metro Status]

Do you usually go to a chain or a local, independent coffee shop to purchase your coffee or tea drink?

Base: Purchase coffee/tea drinks a few times a week or more

Total

Age

Gender

Children in HH

Metro Status

18-35

36-47

48-66

67+

Males

Females

Yes

No

Urban

Sub-urban

Rural

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Usually a national chain

35

35

35

34

39

32

38

36

35

30

40

30

Usually a local, independent shop

18

18

21

16

18

23

14

18

18

22

14

22

Usually a regional chain

11

11

12

11

9

10

12

11

11

10

13

6

It depends

36

36

32

39

34

35

37

34

37

38

32

42

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

TABLE 4

MOST OFTEN GO TO FAVORITE SHOP VS. MORE CONVENIENT SHOP

[by Age, Gender, Children in HH and Metro Status]

You indicated that you purchase coffee drinks at least a few times a week. Is the coffee shop you most often go to your favorite, or do you settle for a shop that is more convenient?

Base: Purchase coffee/tea drinks a few times a week or more

Total

Age

Gender

Children in HH

Metro Status

18-35

36-47

48-66

67+

Males

Females

Yes

No

Urban

Sub-urban

Rural

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Favorite

60

66

64

51

61

58

62

68

56

57

61

61

Settle for a more convenient shop

40

34

36

49

39

42

38

32

44

43

39

39

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding


TABLE 5

HAVE A SINGLE CUP BREWING SYSTEM AT HOME AND/OR WORK

[by Age, Gender, Children in HH and Metro Status]

Do you have a single cup beverage brewing system (e.g. one using K-Cups or other single-use packs) at your home or work?

Base: U.S. Adults

Total

Age

Gender

Children in HH

Metro Status

18-35

36-47

48-66

67+

Males

Females

Yes

No

Urban

Sub-urban

Rural

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes (net)

33

41

35

30

24

34

33

40

31

32

38

24

Yes – at home

25

28

24

23

21

24

25

27

24

24

27

21

Yes – at work

4

5

4

3

1

3

4

4

3

4

4

2

Yes – both

5

8

7

3

1

6

4

8

4

4

6

2

No

67

59

65

70

76

66

67

60

69

68

62

76

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

 

 

 

TABLE 6

HAVE EVER CONSCIOUSLY CHOSEN TO USE SINGLE CUP SYSTEM INSTEAD OF BUYING COFFEE/TEA DRINK AT A SHOP

[by Age, Gender, Children in HH and Metro Status]

And have you ever consciously chosen to use such a brewing system instead of buying a coffee or tea drink at a coffee shop?

Base: Have a single cup brewing system at home and/or work

Total

Age

Gender

Children in HH

Metro Status

18-35

36-47

48-66

67+

Males

Females

Yes

No

Urban

Sub-urban

Rural

%

 %

 

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes

70

72

70

67

68

67

72

70

69

80

65

73

No

30

28

30

33

32

33

28

30

31

20

35

27

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

Harris Poll Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between February 13 and 18, 2013 among 2,496 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words margin of error as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

Harris Poll EquiTrend Methodology

A sample of 38,814 U.S. consumers ages 15 and over were surveyed online by Harris Interactive from January 11 through February 8, 2013 and the survey took an average of 35 minutes to complete. The sample was from the Harris Interactive online panel of respondents, a database consisting of over a million cooperative respondents who have double-opted in to be randomly invited by Harris Interactive to take part in online surveys. The total number of brands rated was 1,511. Each respondent was asked to rate a total of 40 randomly selected brands. Each brand received approximately 1,000 ratings. Data were weighted to be representative of the entire U.S. population of consumers ages 15 and over based on age by sex, education, race/ethnicity, region, income, and data from respondents ages 18 and over were also weighted for their propensity to be online. This is the same precision weighting approach Harris has used to become the leading online polling organization when calling elections.

The Brand Equity Index is the keystone to the EquiTrend program providing an understanding of a brand’s overall strength. A brand’s Equity is determined by a calculation of Familiarity, Quality and Purchase Consideration. Brand of the Year is determined by a simple ranking of brands.

The results of this Harris Poll and the Harris Poll EquiTrend’c2’ae study may not be used for advertising, marketing or promotional purposes without the prior written consent of Harris Interactive.

Product and brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

The Harris Poll #22, April 18, 2013

 

About Harris Interactive

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[1] http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/08/dining/single-serve-coffee-brewers-make-convenience-costly.html?_r=0