Covid-19 is a global pandemic that has been striking us in an unfortunate way. In the coffee world, Covid-19 is also a huge obstacle. Before the fuss, complicated pandemic, coffee is most enjoyable at a coffee shop. Where people have the freedom of opening doors, walk-in customizing drinks, or might have the possibility of meeting cute baristas at the counter bar (*wink). Coffee is not just a normal drink but it is one of the drinks that bring people together. And a cafe is such an iconic place where all this magic happens.
People regularly gather at the coffee shops because it is the most professional, informal, and accessible place all at the same time. This is the space where all of the fascinating conversations occurred, productive meetings took place, and cheerful friendship happened. A coffee shop is preferably where most teenagers and adults socialize. Probably, it will bring memories to your imagination now as you are reading this. Perhaps, you are smiling and thinking about how you and your friends are sitting across each other with coffee in each of your presence and committedly discourse on a topic. It is tempting to go back to that beautiful shop with plants at the corner, the smell of coffee in the air, and beautiful decoration everywhere as your eyes gaze around the room. Probably, this imagination is suggesting you to order a cup of coffee to match the aesthetic atmosphere. Unfortunately, Pre-Covid-19 is an era where we all wanted to return.
Realistically, Covid-19 is today. Generally, ever since this awful virus has set foot into the surface of the earth, the world has never been the same. And we are trying our best to be socially distant and take preventive measures to degrade the spread of this dreadful virus. Regrettably, coffee shops, along with many other shops, are left with no choice but to force into shutdowns. Temporarily or not, but people are holding on with high hopes to resume normally in the near future. The accustomed routine and activities of cafes and coffee lovers are currently at pause because of this sudden change. Although you may see that there are a few coffee shops that are opening nearby, preventive measures are taken 24/7. Social distancing, mandatory mask wear, and a frequent reminder to wash your hands are now the golden rule of not just only coffee shops but every business on the globe.
Today, this piece of writing will tell you a story of how this frightening virus, Covid-19, is currently affecting businesses, specifically the coffee industry. We all are very well-informed on how badly Covid has affected the economy. Nonetheless, today we are going a step deeper to study Covid’s effect on coffee consumption. Typically, the effect is going to be negative. However, there are certainly positive aspects as well. Therefore, this writing will explain the two sides of the coin. We are informing on what has been gained and lost for coffee consumption during this atrocious pandemic. Finally, we will also slightly touch on what the future is going to be for the coffee industry.
First and foremost, one of the negative impacts is the closure of coffee shops. Since Coronavirus is deadly contagious in close proximity, shops have to be more careful. Everyone, including businesses and shops, has to adapt to the new normal. To always be cautious by wearing masks, scanning body temperature, and frequently wash your hands. However, this new normal is not alleviating businesses such as coffee shops from losing revenue and gradually shutting down. Moreover, Covid has never seemed to be backing down. It has always been pulling trump cards under its sleeves forcing many countries to undergo lockdown. And this damages coffee shops severely because a significant portion of customers are commuters and office workers. For example, in the United Kingdom, before the pandemic, coffee shops numbered approximately 26,000 across the country. On the contrary, in March 2020 when the pandemic hit, nearly 92% of the coffee shops were planning to close at a certain point during the lockdown. Moving forward to the end of the year in September of 2020, some coffee shops were also reported to reopen although one-third of the shops remained in a shutdown. Whereas a noticeable small potion might never reappear again.
Although there is encouragement for coffee shops to enter the market once again, a big portion of the population would remain at home due to the precaution. This is still a huge risk for cafe owners to return to the market because the cost is still too high to bear. Moreover, according to a survey from a coffee industry analyst Allegra indicated that even if the lockdown or regulation is alleviated only 55% of their respondents agreed to visit the coffee shop but not as normally as before. This has already shown to us all that the ‘new normal’ is not effective. People are much more concerned about their health safety in comparison to just getting coffee. According to “The Conversation” survey, half of their respondents answered that they would purchase coffee and go back to relax in the coffee shop only when everything is back to the old normal. And 20% others responded otherwise due to fear of Covid-19.
Furthermore, another negative impact of Covid-19 on the coffee industry is unemployment. This horrific virus, besides affecting tremendously on tourism industry, the food industry received an unbearable burn as well. As a matter of fact, unemployment surged ever since the beginning phase of Covid-19. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the United States reported that among 20.5 million job losses in the States, 5.5 million belonged to the dining industry. Although the data did not specify how much this affected the coffee industry, judging from the statistic, we can imply that it would supposedly create a huge impact as well. Moreover, during that time, the United States has never witnessed unemployment this horrific by 14.7%. Even though this number may appear in lower dual digit form but this is the highest since the Great Depression.
Additionally, this year has not been easy for people who are investing in coffee farms as well. It is posing a negative statement for 25 million small farm owners who are responsible for 80% of the world’s coffee. It is estimated that 125 million people’s lives, whose income is based on coffee from transporting to retailing, are at risk. These people grow cocoa and invest heartedly on the coffee farms because they see the future in this industry. And by far, it has been one of the golden and successful industries of all time.
However, this pandemic would mean a harsh sudden change and terror for them. Losing jobs and being unemployed is comparably fearful especially when your income solely depends on it. In the other part of the world, Southeast Asia coffee farmers are also being affected by the pandemic. Vietnam, one of the profound coffee producers, experienced a drop of 8.7 percent by January 2023. The Vietnamese authorities stated that it was caused by the lack of export due to a shop halt. And now it is shifting its partnership to potential investors such as the European Union, Japan, and Korea. On the bright side, coffee farms are not affecting as much. It is stated earlier that there are detectable numbers of job loss and effect. Nevertheless, there are alternatives and ways to restore this industry from falling. In the next section, we are going to inform you about how the coffee industry is being rescued.
Ever since the entry of this terrible virus, people are under quarantine and therefore it is typical to see a decrease in outdoor coffee consumption. In conclusion, the negative effect on the coffee industry resulting from Covid-19 is the significant decline of coffee consumption, closure of coffee shops, and dramatic impact on unemployment.
While coffee consumption at cafes and restaurants is plummeting, there are several coffee-related factors that are soaring and emerging in this pandemic. This is the perfect opportunity to throw in the phrase “in the middle of difficulty lies an opportunity” by the man, Albert Einstein himself. Well, he is correct on this one. He was not considered a genius for nothing. Definitely, although the coffee industry is facing such harsh circumstances during the pandemic other opportunities arise to help. One of the prominent Covid-19 positive impacts is the rise of coffee delivery, pick-up, and e-commerce.
DELIVERIES AND PICK-UP
Throughout the years, the world has brought more innovation and creativity as time goes by. One of the noticeable practices during quarantine that coffee lovers usually do is go to Drive Through. This is a term that refers to driving and ordering. It is common in the States however other parts of the world are starting to implement it as well. Customers can choose whatever is on the menu and order it through a machine. And at the end of the line, there is a receiver to take your order. By the time, a driver would reach her/his turn again, drinks will be served. And all that is left to do is drive and drink.
On the contrary, people find it rather amusing and convenient to order coffee online. Whether it is an already made coffee or coffee machine/tools, people are coping with the new normal situation quite remarkably. Well, in fewer Covid cases countries for example like Cambodia, people preferred to order coffee from their preferred coffee shop or well-known ones and have it delivered to their residents. This is also a great practice because it minimizes the chances of contact with people. Instead of exposing ourselves to a lot of people, it is better to have coffee delivered to your house. It is a better alternative for coffee brands as well. Owners are able to keep their business going under this terrible circumstance. In addition, they are keeping their business resuming with little to less chance of contracting the virus. Moreover, in many other parts of the world, it is the same as well. The United States, on the other hand, is no different. Pickup rises by 5.38 percent in 2020 alone whereas delivery peaks at 340 percent in-home delivery sales for the coffee industry. With online ordering, coffee brands are able to sufficiently operate while delivering delicious coffee for customers.
Coffee home consumption soared as people are practicing social distancing at home. They are following the regulations of staying at home to keep themselves safe with their own family and loved ones. Therefore, to satisfy their needs for a cup of coffee while under quarantine, ordering coffee at home is a wonderful idea all along. So coffee e-commerce is the new trend for 2020 and 2023.
Globally, people are coping well with ordering coffee equipment online as well. Some of the population are actually buying coffee machines and tools to make themselves some quality coffee at home. Obviously, the ordering process is through online purchases. The spike of coffee searches at Walmart, Amazon, eBay, and Target is noticeably rising. We can see that there is a significant increase in coffee equipment purchases by 11 percent. Moreover, even the online subscription for coffee making has increased to 109 percent as well. All of these numbers demonstrated clearly that people are remotely supporting coffee. Even though coffee shops are less in popularity now because people are being watchful of their safety and health, people are still being supportive of coffee through e-commerce. They are ordering online and even make an extra step of joining classes and subscriptions. Now a quality cup of coffee is within a reach or just right downstairs. Even if lockdown is still occurring, on a hot sunny morning, you and I could still get ourselves a cup of enjoyable iced coffee to energize the day.
Through e-commerce, the coffee industry is actually keeping itself alive from going bankrupt. It is not damaging for the entire coffee ecosystem. Coffee farms are able to sustain themselves from mass unemployment and future crises. E-commerce is an actual way to help the coffee industry from falling by maintaining both the demand side as well as the supply side.
THE FUTURE OF COFFEE CONSUMPTION
What would happen if Covid-19 does not go away? In that case, we would have to live with it. And as aforementioned, the future of coffee really depends on e-commerce and other innovative methods. It is going forward I can say however not in a socializing way. In the future, coffee shops will shift to contact-free business, e-commerce, and daily sanitization.
Firstly, contact-free selling has been a norm for coffee shops for one year now. As mentioned above, many cafes are shifting toward drive-thru and pick-up or carry-out options. Which is safer for both parties, the consumer and producers. This method will decrease the risk of first-hand contact when both parties stay safe at their respected zones.
Secondly, e-commerce is rising essentially to aid consumer’s demand during Covid. Like above, this sector is flourishing and prospering. People are so accustomed to this idea of online shopping. Moreover, with the help of social media and technology, e-commerce is more than ready to operate. To make lives even easier, supermarkets and marts now also put forth their own website or application. With only one click, your item and products will arrive at the door any minute later. As a result, this e-commerce sector is succeeding more than ever.
Finally, even if the world is slowly getting better and cafes are reopening again. people all around the world would still have to take preventive precautions in order to keep safe from the virus. Therefore, social-distancing, sanitation, protective gears, and guidelines will still be relevant. Cafes would still have to incorporate cleanliness and regular sanitization to prevent another unpredictable outbreak from happening. It is likely to say that quarantine is still prevalent and the risk of Covid-19 remains. I believe that people would happily go back to their favorite coffee shop unless everything is back to their normal pattern.
The world is changing because of Covid-19. It is unpredictable and dangerous so far. Every sector of the economy is being affected so as other industries as well. Coffee industry is also receiving burns and damages from this terrible virus. Cafes are slowly shutting down, one by one, because of less and less consumption of coffee. And no one is at fault to blame for this degradation. Even faithful customers have to stay at home to keep safe from another outbreak. Moreover, this virus also caused mass unemployment for the industry as well as impacting coffee farmers around the globe.
Although this virus is detrimental, we ought to look at the bright side of things too. In this difficult situation, the coffee industry also is gradually being restored from the rises of e-commerce, cafe deliveries, drive-thru, and pick ups. These are successfully being executed throughout the world as well. Craving coffee drinkers are finding innovative ways to get their hands on delicious, tasteful coffee. People are starting to order their favorite coffee online and have it delivered to their residents. Otherwise, they can choose to go on a drive-thru trip which is also welcoming in this era of Covid. Where customers sit in their car, say aloud their orders, and wait patiently in their cars for their drink when they reach the end of the line. Otherwise, they can also order from the supermarket the materials such as ground coffees or coffee makers to make their own coffee at home. In conclusion, coffee consumption is being affected by Covid-19 extensively but the people choose to make the circumstances better.