Annie Gasparro with The Wallstreet Journal recently wrote that "coronavirus pandemic achieved in a few weeks what the owners of Folgers and Maxwell House have been trying to do for a decade: get people to brew coffee at home again".
Note that article was published Nov 10th 2020, vs around March or April, which begs the question as far as how longterm the "consumer buying" implications of the pandemic will be. It's no surprise that consumer habits for coffee would shift, as fewer and fewer people can regularly consume coffee at in person cafés. What's more interesting is to consider if that trend will impact businesses and consumers in the next few years.
Much has already been written about retail's "great acceleration" to eCommerce catalyzed by the pandemic. Buying habits can change, especially when forced to, but once a "new normal" of buying and making coffee at home is established, there's reason to believe it could be a long lasting trend. Even when other options become available, there's more factors to consider:
1. Coffee retailers, like many others, have made longterm bets on investing in eCommerce. This means consumers will now become accustomed to a world class "as easy and quickly as possible" way of ordering coffee online. Concerns about product selection, shipping, and quality of service will be addressed more robustly than ever before.
2. Coffee consumers may discover never previously considered advantages of sourcing their coffee online. They may find they are able to more easily discover new and exciting premium roasts, or they may find that they can have an easier time of finding lower prices if price points are their main priority.
3. One of the most popular ways of selling coffee online is to do so through subscriptions. The "online subscription" model for routine purchases has been evolving and growing over the years, and both businesses and consumers may find this model offers them both better value.
The full impact the pandemic will have on the coffee industry is still open to speculation, but based on the knowledge we do have the idea that things will go "completely back" to the way they were seems increasingly far fetched.