Roy Morgan Research
July 15, 2019

Baby Boomers drink coffee and tea, but hot chocolate is for the young

Topic: Press Release
Finding No: 8054
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New research from Roy Morgan shows that over 15.2 million Australians now drink hot drinks including hot coffee, hot tea or hot chocolate in an average week representing 74.1% of Australians aged 14+.

The majority of Australians (56.1%) drink at least one cup of coffee in an average week, just under half of us (47.6%) drink tea and only 12.5% drink hot chocolate.

Both hot tea and hot coffee are popular with older Australians and Baby Boomers (born 1946-1960) are the leading drinkers of both hot coffee (69.6%) and hot tea (61.1%) in an average week.

The older Pre-Boomers (born prior to 1946) are also big consumers of hot coffee (67.3%) and hot tea (59.9%) but consumption really drops off for younger Australians with under a third of Generation Z (born 1991-2005) drinking either hot tea (32.3%) or hot coffee (30.5%) in an average week.

In contrast to both hot tea and hot coffee younger Australians are more likely to drink hot chocolate in an average week than their older counterparts although the drink is in a clear third place for all age groups. Nearly a fifth of Generation Z (19.5%) drink hot chocolate in an average week compared to only 7.3% of Pre-Boomers.

The cooler iced varieties are consumed by far fewer Australians than their hot alternatives. Iced coffee is consumed by 1.1 million Australians (5.6%) in an average week while just over 1 million Australians (5%) drink iced tea in an average week.

Hot drinks consumed by Australians in an average week by Generation

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2018 – March 2019 (n= 14,722). Base: Australians aged 14+.

Hot tea and iced tea drinkers come from opposite ends of the spectrum

Analysing the different types of Australians that drink hot tea and iced tea is a study in contrasts with the core markets of both drinks representing vastly different demographics, although the over-arching similarity is that more women than men drink both hot tea and iced tea whereas coffee drinking is split evenly between the genders.

Hot tea drinkers are often well educated and prosperous older Australians 

A pen-portrait of a typical hot tea drinker presents a woman in an older age demographic most likely to be a Baby Boomer in an Older Household for which the kids have moved out. She’s likely to be a part of the upper AB socio-economic quintile and have a diploma or degree although working only part-time or already retired.

She’s likely to be in the Traditional Family Life or Socially Aware (*Roy Morgan Value Segments) and more likely than the average Australian to agree that ‘I try to buy additive free food’ and agrees that she’s ‘eating less red meat these days’. She ‘tries to buy Australian made products as often as possible’ and ‘trusts well-known brands better than the stores’ own’. She’s more likely to ‘like to drink wine with my meals’ and she also likes to ‘restrict how much fattening food I eat’.

When she’s looking for something to do she’s likely to head to a café to grab a ‘cuppa’ and she also enjoys attending licensed restaurants and eating a good meal at a pub or hotel. She enjoys entertaining friends and relatives and going to see a film at the cinema and is also far more likely than the average Australian to attend live theatre or keep fit with a spot of pilates or yoga.

Iced tea drinkers are young and likely to be at university and employed part-time

In contrast to their older peers iced tea drinkers are predominantly young with more than half under 35 years of age and 40% in Generation Z – born in 1991 or later.

The quintessential iced tea drinker is just making her way in life and likely to be attending university and working part-time. She is more likely than the average Australian to ‘love to do as many sports as possible’ and be ‘concerned about her sugar intake’.

She’s also more like to agree that ‘She was born to shop’, ‘always ready to try new and different products’ and ‘she’ll go out of her way in search of a bargain’. When she’s out shopping she is more likely to ‘notice the advertisements on shopping trolleys when I do grocery shopping’, ‘use coupons she finds in magazines or on packets’ and ‘enjoy buying magazines’ while she’s also more likely to ‘find TV advertising interesting’.

Australia’s iced tea drinkers enjoy their activities as well and are far more likely to head out to night clubs or a casino, or go to a music concert than the average Australian and they also enjoy convenience when it comes to food being far more likely to order home delivered food, - including pizzas or eat at fast food places generally.

Michele Levine, CEO of Roy Morgan, says:

Block Quote

“In the age old battle between tea and coffee for the hearts, and throats, of Australian consumers, coffee is maintaining, and even growing its lead.

“Over 15.2 million Australians drink hot drinks including tea, coffee or hot chocolate in an average week and coffee which is now drunk by 11.5 million Australians pips tea on 9.8 million as the most widely consumed hot drink. A relatively minor 2.5 million Australians also drink hot chocolate in an average week.

“Over the last four years coffee has grown its weekly market from 10.5 million Australians in 2014 by over 1 million whereas tea is now consumed by just over 300,000 more than four years ago.

“The ‘iced’ varieties of both tea and coffee are enjoyed by relatively miniscule markets of Australians in comparison. Just over 1.1 million Australians drink iced coffee (5.6%) and 1 million iced tea (5%) in an average week.

“An analysis of who drinks these beverages reveals there are significant differences between the average Australians who like a hot cup of coffee or tea and someone enjoys a cool iced tea.

“Although consumers of both hot tea and iced tea are more likely to be women than men, the average hot tea drinker is likely to be prosperous, well-educated and living in an Older Household from which the kids have moved out.

“It might well be her kids that are drinking iced tea as over half the (much smaller) iced tea market is consumed by people under 35 years of age and concentrated in the youngest generation – Gen Z. The iced tea consumer could well be sitting at University or taking a break from a part-time job while throwing back one of the leading iced tea brands such as Lipton Iced Tea, Nestea, Fuze Tea, Real Iced Tea or Tetley Iced Tea.

“The market of Australians consuming hot drinks, or iced varieties, is a large one comprising well over three-quarters of the Australian population in an average week. Roy Morgan’s comprehensive food and drinks data gives companies and brands trying to gain an edge on their rivals unique insights into the spending preferences and habits of consumers.”

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Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size Percentage Estimate
40% – 60% 25% or 75% 10% or 90% 5% or 95%
1,000 ±3.0 ±2.7 ±1.9 ±1.3
5,000 ±1.4 ±1.2 ±0.8 ±0.6
7,500 ±1.1 ±1.0 ±0.7 ±0.5
10,000 ±1.0 ±0.9 ±0.6 ±0.4
20,000 ±0.7 ±0.6 ±0.4 ±0.3
50,000 ±0.4 ±0.4 ±0.3 ±0.2

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