Despite the UK’s declining tea sales, which decreased by 8% in retail volume terms between 2008 and 2013, retail value growth has remained steady, increasing by 1% in real growth over the same period. The inverse volume and value growth indicates that while Britons are drinking less tea, their choices are becoming more premium. In addition to the increasing popularity of tea types like green tea and fruit and herbal teas – which carry a higher price tag than traditional black standard tea, premium tea brands are also on the rise.
Shifting Tea-Type Preferences
The premiumisation of British tea culture is evident in the increasingly popularity of different tea types. Black standard tea, the most traditional and inexpensive type of tea in the UK, decreased by 9% in retail volume between 2008 and 2013, accounting for nearly the entirety of the category’s overall volume decline. In contrast, alternative tea types such as green tea, fruit/herbal tea, and other teas which include white teas, oolong tea, and rooibos, each recorded double digit volume growth over the same period. These different variants are priced much higher than standard black teas. Fruit and herbal teas, which recorded the highest absolute volume growth between 2008 and 2013, are also the most expensive type of tea, with an average unit price of nearly six times that of black standard tea.
Retail Volume Growth by Tea Type, 2008-2013
Source: Euromonitor International