Behind the 600 million heat, “35 yuan a cup of county coffee”, who is drinking it?

By orchioo Apr20,2023

Some time ago, “Who is drinking a 35 yuan cup of county coffee?” became a hot topic on Weibo. County coffee has once again become the topic center.
Since the second half of last year, “County Coffee” has started its rapid mode. In some counties, over 10 cafes have sprung up in just a few months, and some stores can achieve a daily turnover of 25000.
So, in a county with few white-collar workers, who is drinking coffee?
How much is reasonable to sell coffee in the county market?
To what extent has the county coffee that has received much attention developed?
1、 In the past two months, there have been more than 10 hot searches, and “County Coffee” has become the focus of the topic
Not surprisingly, in the past two months, there have been more than 10 topics related to “county coffee”, which have successively appeared on Weibo hot searches.
A few days ago, a hot search on “Who is drinking a 35 yuan cup of county coffee” attracted 600 million attention and 16000 discussions.
The discussion on the “County Town Coffee at 35 yuan per cup” on the internet is also unusually lively.
Some people believe that it is “acceptable” and “affordable”. County residents have a relatively small economic burden, and “have money and leisure”. A cup of 35 yuan coffee can meet the pursuit of a trendy lifestyle, but people are still willing to pay for it.
Some people also believe that “a 35 yuan cup of county coffee is too high to climb.”.
In short, county coffee has once again become a hot topic. Behind this is the “crazy running” county coffee market.
“In the second half of 2022, coffee in the county will increase 2-3 times.” Several county coffee managers have reported to me that many counties have been crazily opening coffee shops since the second half of last year. In just a few months, the number of coffee shops in many counties has reached more than 10.
For example, in Changde Li County, “from the second half of last year, we can feel that the competition in the county seat is extremely fierce, with a business district increasing from 3 to more than 10.”
In Fengcheng, Yichun, “Ruixing has two, and Kudi has two. There shouldn’t have been one. In the second half of last year, it suddenly emerged, and by the end of the year, there had been seven or eight more coffee shops.”
Longquan North Coffee in Fengcheng can achieve a daily average of 5000 yuan; The Humble Wake Coffee in Dengfeng has been open for 10 years; There is also Blue Beast Coffee, which started in Li County and has a daily turnover of 25000 yuan in Li County.
So, behind the rapid growth, have coffee consumers in county towns been cultivated?
2、 Who is paying for a 35 yuan cup of county coffee? ‍
In Haiyan County, Jiaxing, Summer and friends opened a new Chinese themed cafe called “Tianning Houde Coffee”, with two floors of more than 150 square meters, with a unit price of 30 to 35 yuan per customer.
“It is the temple coffee that inspires us and provides a place for young people in the county to catch up with the trend through the collision of Chinese and Western cultures,” Summer said.
“Many times, what people like is not the product itself, but the scene in which the product is located, as well as the emotions that permeate the scene.” – This sentence from “Scene Revolution” is also applicable to county coffee.
Buying coffee at a high price in a county town is more about a fashion and atmosphere. The joy of a small county town is a slow pace, with a cup of coffee sitting for an afternoon. A coffee shop is a place for young people to socialize and entertain, and a trendy place to punch in. ‍‍‍‍‍‍‍
Many brands are well aware of this principle and adopt the strategy of “opening small stores in the first and second tier, sinking into large stores” to provide a place for social entertainment for young people in the county.
The more it sinks, the lower the price of space, and the more advantaged natural treasures it possesses. Many online coffee shops have also emerged. A cup of coffee costs 30 to 40 yuan, but it cannot resist the trend of “clocking in”.
“Using information gaps and understanding of decoration, learning more popular local elements, doing a good job in the third space, and figuring out the price are the reasons for the popularity of coffee in these county towns. However, how to utilize the flow and continue to maintain its long-term popularity is an urgent consideration and solution,” a coffee manager told me.
While young people are willing to pay, coffee prices in the county have shown a “polarization”.
3、 “Polarization” of coffee prices in county towns
In the county seat, coffee prices are represented by two echelons:
The first tier is a relatively affordable coffee brand with an average price of less than 10 yuan per cup, represented by Lucky Coffee.
Among them, the average price of Lucky Coffee is 8 yuan, American style is 5 yuan, latte is 9 yuan, and raw coconut latte is only 10 yuan, which is cheaper than milk tea, making it the first cup of coffee for many county youth.
In October of last year, Kudi Coffee also started to race around in the sinking market at an average price of about 11 yuan, with a cup of coffee of “Tiktok Activity of 8.8 yuan and 9.9 yuan”.
The consumption habit of milk tea in the county has been basically formed, and these affordable coffee brands have opened the prelude to the competition for coffee/milk tea in the county.
In many counties and cities, coffee is changing from “coffee flavored milk tea” to “milk tea based coffee”, and the development of these brands has also accelerated this change.
The price of a single cup in the second tier is generally around 30 yuan or higher, either focusing on coffee social spaces, or focusing on niche coffee groups.
This segment of coffee audience essentially purchases either space or a “professional coffee experience” that is not available elsewhere. ‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍
I have to mention Starbucks here. Starbucks China plans to add 3000 stores by 2025. In public reports, the relevant person in charge of Starbucks China once stated, “Starbucks values not only more than 300 prefectural markets nationwide, but also nearly 3000 county markets.”
Most of the time, the 20-25 yuan coffee price belt for first-tier and second-tier white-collar workers who just need customers is actually a “bad business” in the county.
At the same time, there are also some new coffee forces emerging in the county town——
4、 A group of emerging “coffee forces” are emerging in the county
In the past many years, the protagonists of county coffee have been Shangdao and Dio.
In the past year or two, some innovative county coffee entrepreneurs have brought new ways to play coffee in tier 1 and tier 2 cities to the county, bringing new vitality to the county coffee.
For example, as mentioned above, the Blue Mouth Beast Coffee, which started in Li County, Changde, has a trendy and playful brand image. Its products focus on tea and coffee that are easily accepted by young people, coupled with interesting peripheral products. It is known by local county youth as the “most trendy and playful county coffee shop”, and currently has 23 stores open.
These county coffee brands will participate in the city’s coffee festivals and hold local coffee fairs to make efforts to popularize and cultivate coffee in the county, so that young people in the county can “feel a new coffee culture without leaving the county.”.
Many county coffee managers will occasionally go to Shanghai, Chengdu, and other places to study and investigate, and even learn coffee and marketing training courses.
“Coffee is really ‘one day without studying, one will fall behind’. We go to other places to study whenever we have time.” When interviewing Longquan North Coffee, he and his wife were studying in Chengdu.
However, learning is the focus of learning, and these county coffee entrepreneurs also have a clearer understanding: County coffee and tier 1 and tier 2 cities have completely different playing methods. ‍‍
5、 Fast dissemination, small circle, and more effective private domain gaming besides price
Unlike first-tier and second-tier cities, the coffee atmosphere in small county towns is not as strong, and consumption habits are not as good. The geographical area of the county town is small, but “it spreads faster and is easier to penetrate.”.
Longquan North Coffee in Fengcheng, Yichun, seven years ago, before Tiktok and Xiaohongshu, he began to use WeChat as a private domain, with more than 10000 fans.
“At first, it may be difficult to do it, but the county is very small, and when you accumulate to a certain amount, it is easy to form a reputation effect and continuous fission.” said Sky, the principal of Longquan North Coffee.
“In the county seat, social scenes can be flashy and trendy, but products should be attentive enough because the circle is relatively small.”
The Humble Wake Coffee, which has been making in Dengfeng for 10 years, was also made from private domain traffic. By 2013, it had around 15000 fans in small counties.
“Most of these fans drank their ‘first cup of coffee’ from us, and they followed us until they got married and had children,” Li Xiaoxing, the manager of Zhuowake Coffee, told me.
In addition, with the rise of the emerging social platform, the county coffee is also “unwilling to fall behind”, shooting videos, editing stories, and using Little Red Book, Tiktok, Station B to attract traffic, and many have achieved good results.
6、 Conclusion
Many county coffee managers have told me that county coffee is “polarized” in terms of price, peak season, and even taste preferences.
“Most people who drink coffee in county towns have two extremes: they either drink American style coffee directly, or they have a sweet taste.” “In large cities, coffee is tested for free and customers are not allowed to come.”
However, the county seat has become a “battleground” for large and small coffee brands, and studying the consumption preferences of young people in the county seat will soon become a compulsory course for coffee brands.

By orchioo

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