Milk and bubble tea chains predict big jump in sales
Chinese milk and bubble tea chain operators anticipate a nearly 40 percent increase in yearly sales in 2023, with the market size around 145 billion yuan (US$20.4 billion).
According to the China Chain Store & Franchise Association's most recent study, the industry, which has 486,000 total outlets and over 55 percent of them are chains, is expected to experience a positive outlook and a robust recovery in consumer mood.
About 80 percent of total orders come from digital mini sites and delivery platforms as the digitalization trends continue to gain traction.
About 200 million customers, the majority of whom are young urbanites in their 20s and 30s, make up the entire market size, which increased little last year with an estimated 3.7 percent growth due to pandemic restrictions.
Despite relatively slower market growth, leading chain stores have increased their investments in supply chains and automated devices to increase efficiency, the report said.
Leading domestic chain tea houses have been ambitious in expanding their presence.
Heytea said it opened new stores in 37 cities last year, with 13 million new members added to the total 63 million membership base.
It has also added bottled drinks that are available through delivery sites and grocery stores.
Hong Kong-listed bubble tea chain Nayuki Holding acquired a 43.64 percent stake in rival Lelecha for 525 million yuan in December as it sought synergies in store expansion, supply chain, digitalization and automation, and internal management.
Seasonal fruit and new flavors were also being introduced by leading tea drink chain stores, with an average of 11 new offerings every three months.