How have millennials changed the coffee game

Millennials are different to older generations in basically everyway. They value education and work over family, move out later, start families later and spend their money on more material things. And none of this is necessarily negative or positive – it’s simply just a shift in attitudes. The trends revolving around coffee is one thing that has been affected massively by millennials.

Young people are having a goliath impact on the way the country purchases, consumes and views absolutely everything from clothes, food, electronics and, of course…coffee. Cafes and coffee companies have rightly been keeping their eye on the millennials and it would be silly not to – they really are changing the game and if you’re not careful, you’ll be left behind. An example of this is the fact that the consumption of espresso-based drinks has nearly tripled in 10 years, and drinking outside of home has become a big trend – expected to be linked to social media. Everything is posted online now and the pretty, expensive coffees get more likes, so in turn they are generally a favourite among young people.

According to a recent study, 56% of people aged between 16 and 25 chose coffee as their favourite drink, and this comes to no surprise. For millennials, coffee represents experiences too. Coffee shops have become a place to study allowing people to socialise and work in a nice environment. They’re also not just ordering coffee, they’re looking for different tastes, unique looks and ethical stepping stones. 78% of millenials would rather spend their money on an experience than an item.

If you look around, coffee shops have really begun to notice this trend and target it. You’ll very rarely see simple coffees being served in cafes, regardless of how good they may taste. I will confidently say that 99.9% of coffee shops in the UK offer a drink with some kind of latte art on top, a nice looking frothy cappuccino with chocolate sprinkles or a hot chocolate with cute marshmallows. And do I need to start to get into detail about the crazy interiors which so may coffee shops sport now? Why do they do all this? Because they have to if they want to remain competitive. The success of eco-friendly coffee shops and other ethical cafes have also proven that businesses are noticing these trends – and many more will be soon to follow.

Millennials focusing and showing interest in ethical and green coffee shops could really be expected – these issues have become hot topics in their lifetime and they may feel some kind of responsibility to make a difference.  That’s why they are more inclined to spend their money on a premium price if it means they might be doing a little part. They’d much rather spend their money on coffee which they can be sure is FairTrade or a cup that is eco-friendly. This is such a positive change and one that should be embraced and encouraged. Generations before, who perhaps didn’t have the same kind of disposable income or knowledge on these issues would arguably be less inclined than millennials to spend more money to help a farmer in another country, or on a disposable cup.

Let’s mention the elephant in the room – technology. One of the biggest shifts in millennial behaviour is the “reliance” on phones (I say reliance but I would safely say we could all adapt and survive in a weird no phone alternate universe). Although it’s hard to spot somebody without their head staring down at a screen lately, the ability to use technology to make lives easier has really benefited everybody. Apps for coffee shops, brewing timers, recipes and readily available information make it so much easier to be a coffee connoisseur, or at least a coffee intellect, in the 21st century. So, coffee companies and shops especially need to adapt to this – make their presence known on social media, hit up influencers and design apps to make the step to buying coffee a little easier for those who probably don’t carry physical cash around anymore.

These changes are inevitable and ten years from now there will most definitely be different trends. As companies that revolve around coffee, or shops which serve coffee – these trends are something which need to really be focused on. Targeting a generation of people that would spend more money and more time with a hot drink will prove to be beneficial in every way.

Hello, I’m the blogger for Coffee Love Co, writing about everything and anything coffee related (usually whilst drinking a strong cup myself.) Get in touch with me about my writing by clicking on one of the icons below!

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