5 Characteristics of Today's OCS Customers

Jan. 9, 2017

The U.S. coffee industry is not what it was 10 years ago. Single-serve and specialty beverages, in addition to the rise in coffeehouses, have shaped the industry dramatically. Coffee consumption is booming and is expected to continue to grow -  2 percent a year until 2020 in the U.S.

Just as the coffee industry has evolved, so too has the coffee consumer. In order to adapt services and offerings to best suit your client's’ coffee wants and needs, here are five characteristics of today’s OCS customer.

Today’s customer - Prefers a similar in-home and workplace coffee experience

In this day and age, a consumer has the ability to make themselves a specialty cup of coffee at home, so when they come into the office, they expect the same experience. Millennials view high quality coffee as an office culture perk; don’t give them a reason to leave the office and find a specialty cup of coffee somewhere else.

Today’s customer - Is willing to spend more money on coffee

Specialty coffee comes as a premium cost, but one that consumers are willing to pay. The National Coffee Association reported that while the number of cups of coffee consumed in the U.S. may have declined slightly in 2016, the retail earnings have continued to increase, proving that consumers will pay for quality.

Today’s customer - Wants their beverage their way

Customization is key to today’s consumer. In fact, the Specialty Coffee Association reported that consumers, specifically Millennials, like to customize their drink to suit their mood. High-tech brewers not only meet this demand but go above and beyond. Some brewers offer a personalized coffee experience by not only allowing the user to choose between different types of milks, but also by remembering previous orders.

Today’s customer - Notices the brands they support

The National Coffee Association reported in 2016 that the next generation of consumers has a more personal relationship to the products and brands they support. “For some consumers, 'value' may be more about a brand’s philosophy, authenticity, and commitment than anything measured in dollars and sense,” the NCA wrote.

Today’s customer - Is multi-generational

With all the talk about Millennials, we can’t forget they aren’t the only ones in the workplace. When it comes to coffee, many older and more traditional consumers are still purchasing and consuming ground coffee in cans - no specialty or single-cup hoopla.  Your customer base may be polarized; so as to not alienate one group or another, the OCS operator must find a balance of offering a customizable coffee program that fits the younger generation while also providing a traditional service to those who prefer it.