The rise and the slightly falling coffee market in Kuwait

Kuwait registered an average coffeeshop store opening growth rate of 21% since 2003. The number of coffeeshop openings were growing at a normal rate over the years except for 2016 and 2017 where the number of store openings more than doubled to reach 48 coffeeshops in 2016 and 81 coffeeshop openings in 2017. The high coffeeshop opening growth rate registered is contributed to the local specialty coffee brands and outlets opening all over the country.

The rapid outlet growth which was sparked in 2015 had little impact on the market value size growth up until 2017. The market size registered a 60% value growth in 2016 and 76% in 2017 but it is expected to slow down to register a negative growth of 13% by the end of 2018. The drastic increase of stores, brands, and geographical presence around the country drove the market value to achieve the high growth rates. Two main factors contributed to slower growth of the value market size; international brands dominance and maturity in coffee distribution channels and formats.

International Brands Dominance
Even though the number of openings of local coffeeshops overtook the international brands, the international brands were consistent in expanding their presence in new geographical territories that lack any coffee supply. Additionally, the increase of the drive through outlets is playing a major role in capturing consumer interest and maintaining their market shares. Last but not least, international brands operate at extended hours compared to the local brands. The majority of international brands start operating at 6:30 am compared to 7:30 am.
Coffee Distribution Channels and Formats
Coffee was mainly served as a hot drink in coffeeshops and cafes up until the launch of the RTD coffee drinks. The RTD coffee drinks were not presented in the mass distribution channels in Kuwait until 2016 and 2017 where the brands, flavors, and shelf presence captured a bigger space compared to the previous years. Additionally, the local coffeeshop brands followed that trends by launching their own branded coffee capsules. This move also forced several international brands to launch their own coffee capsules.

Coffee is here to stay, and it is staying in our blood streams more than other beverages. The discussed trend has been registered worldwide. The availability of coffee beans and coffee making know how, the low setup cost, and the long shelf life of coffee compared to other restaurant and café formats are contributing to the fast growth of the category. The coffeeshop and RTD coffee market are evolving quick with existing major players such as Starbucks and new players such as Coca Cola will contribute to interest coffee trends in the near future.