South Korea's Coffee Imports Approach 3 Million Bags
Young urban professionals are seen as key to coffee industry success as a 'coffee shop culture' is driving the market.
With the vast majority of South Korea's coffee imported from overseas, the country's imports of coffee products surged to record levels last year on the back of burgeoning demand for the brewed drink. Total arrivals in green bean equivalent were 2.979 mln bags in 2018, which was even fractionally above the previous year’s 2.966 mln – which had been a record in itself.
Green bean arrivals fell a bit to 2.418 mln bags from an unprecedented 2.458 mln the year before, meaning that the variety accounts for about 81% of total imports. Roast & Ground Coffee Imports rose to 264,420 bags from 233,908 and soluble coffee imports recovered to 297,006 bags from 273,529.
Historically dominated by coffee mixes and instant coffee consumption, South Korea's domestic market has changed with the opening of shops in the likes of Starbucks and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf stores in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Besides the growth of these big coffee chains, local trends are leading to more stores operating their own roasting machines and becoming more high-end to meet consumers'diversified demands. Click here for more insight into the growing South Korea's coffee market.