All photos by Euromonitor International
The specialist coffee shop segment has grown to become highly popular in many Asia Pacific markets, as young, urban consumers are attracted to their indulgent baked goods, hot coffee or tea, and social atmosphere. This has meant rapid growth in the region for specialist coffee shops as a category, at 14% value growth in 2013, but it has also led to fierce competition particularly in premium locations.
This competition has led to a need to differentiate, causing operators to think beyond the Starbucks-led coffee and espresso model and find different ways to pair the third-place benefits of modern coffee shops with various cuisines and concepts. One such resulting trend is the rise of the French bakery café, a niche that has gained popularity in higher-income markets such as South Korea and Singapore. These outlets pair the premium atmosphere and sleek, modern décor of a specialist coffee shop with the menu and service model of a more traditional café, offering consumers a more luxurious drinking and snacking experience that serves a wider variety of dining occasions. Paul bakery exemplifies this trend, combining a traditional French ambience with more modern amenities that appeals to high-income locals, European expats and tourists alike. Euromonitor visited an outlet in Singapore to get a better sense of the format’s key benefits and appeal: