NCA: Coffee Is Americans’ Favored Daily Beverage Next To Water

March 16, 2015

Charleston, SC (March 13, 2015) – More than three-quarters of Americans drink coffee, says new research from the National Coffee Association (NCA). That figure confirms coffee’s continued strength among consumers, and sustains coffee’s place as America’s top daily beverage choice next to water.

The NCA’s 2015 National Coffee Drinking Trends© (NCDT) also finds that 59% of Americans say they drink coffee each day, while 71% reported partaking at least once per week.

For 2015, total coffee consumption remained steady within the study’s margin of error. Past-year consumption came in at 78% versus last year’s 79%, past-week at 71% versus 73% and past-day at 59% versus 61%.

Data Innovations

As the industry evolves, with new coffee options and brewing technologies, these findings signal continued promise and point to some specific opportunities. This year, the NCDT data is more relevant than ever, with the introduction of a new interactive platform enabling industry members to customize data to individualize strategies to target those opportunities. 

Also new this year, the full NCDT report is being released today at the NCA Annual Convention. This accelerated production schedule delivers the year’s new NCDT data a full quarter-year earlier than in prior years. The NCDT has tracked consumer attitudes toward coffee consumption for 66 years, making it the longest running statistical series of its kind.

Market Opportunities

Continuing to take the industry by storm is single-cup brewing technology. The NCDT confirms that the trend continues, with ownership hitting an all-time high of 27% of consumers. Awareness has also soared to 75%, and “definite” or “probable” intent to buy within the next six months is up to 12%.

Age profiles for coffee consumers appear to be shifting as well. While overall consumption continues to skew older, the margin is smaller in 2015. At the same time, the skew is not seen across all coffee types – espresso-based beverages are significantly more popular among those 18-39. There appears to be sustained, if not growing, strength among all under 40, particularly those 18-24. Conversely, an overall decline in non-gourmet coffee consumption is more pronounced among those 18-24.

Daypart behaviors also suggest evolving consumer tastes. Breakfast’s dominance appears to be slipping in favor of later dayparts. In 2015, 81% of daily consumers drank coffee at breakfast, a six-point drop over three years. During the same period, afternoon coffee consumption jumped by five points.

Attitudes toward office coffee systems appear to suggest opportunities to improve the workplace coffee experience. Fifty-four percent are less than “very satisfied” with their workplace coffee area, while the 13% who said they are not satisfied will likely be a receptive audience for new preparation options.

National Coffee Drinking Trends

The 2015 National Coffee Drinking Trends (NCDT) is presented in electronic form (pdf), and available at the NCA Annual Convention on flash drive. Printed copies can also be obtained upon request. The NCDT report includes access to the interactive data platform for the calendar year of the report. 

NCDT data, some of which is previewed above, include extensive statistical information on consumer attitudes and their impact on coffee consumption in the United States. Variables explored in the report and database include consumption patterns by frequency, coffee type, age, gender, ethnicity, daypart and region, along with attitudes that impede or encourage coffee consumption. Other data include associations with coffee quality by origins, knowledge of coffee certifications, and extensive historic demographic tables. 

The NCDT has been conducted annually by the NCA since 1950. It is the longest available statistical series of consumer drinking patterns in the U.S. The study engaged a nationally representative sample of about 3,000 people aged 18 and older. Respondents are selected from an online panel with ethnic breakouts aligned proportionately with the makeup of the U.S. population. Respondents complete the survey online in English or Spanish at their choosing.