Zhang Ning recently planted a “White Peach Oolong” tea in the live broadcast room, which he kept in the office as a “ration”. A box of 10 bags, the price is more than 50 yuan, more expensive than the tea bags in the supermarket. But she was willing to spend money.
Her reason is simple-it adds a fruity flavor and has a fresh taste; the triangular tea bag, you can directly see the tea inside, not the tea powder of the traditional tea bag; it is cheaper and healthier than milk tea.
In the past few decades, when it comes to teabags, all the public can think of are the representatives of “English tea”-Lipton and Twinings.
Take Lipton Tea as an example. The unit price of each package is only 50 cents, but it has long occupied the pantry of various companies, hotels, and conferences. But they are more of a substitute for tea, a cheap “refreshing” option when going out.
Picture source Lipton official Weibo
With the accelerated pace of work and the popularity of open offices, it is difficult for white-collar workers in big cities to enjoy the time and place to “make tea”. In addition to coffee, teabag has become the most portable and quick tea choice outside of work.
Today, more and more emerging players are competing for the teabag market.
In June this year, teabag rookies “CHALI Chali” and “Chaxiaokong teakoo” successively received financing, with the financing amount exceeding 100 million yuan. Chali has received 7 consecutive rounds of financing, and investors include well-known companies such as Country Garden and JD Digital.
However, these start-up brands are also facing many challenges from the giants. Lipton has spun off the independent operation of Lihua this year, and launched a series of new products of triangular original leaf tea + blending; Hey tea , tea Yanyue color , Nai Xue’s While tea and other tea chain brands are expanding offline, they have successively launched tea bag products; fast food brand KFC , and new coffee brands such as Shicui have even combined tea and coffee to launch “tea coffee” products.
The traditional tea industry will enter the public eye with a richer attitude. This market has also ushered in iterative upgrades. In this segment, who can eventually become the next “hi tea”?
“Liptons” fell out of favor
According to the “2021 China Tea Drinks Market Report”, China’s tea drink market will reach 403.3 billion yuan in 2020, with a compound growth rate of 7.2% in the past five years. It is estimated that by 2025, the total tea drink market will reach 764.5 billion yuan.
This includes not only the hot milk tea track in the past two years, but also the original leaf tea market represented by tea bags and tea leaves.
For a long time, tea bags have not been the first choice for Chinese people to drink tea.
According to iiMedia Consulting, as of 2020, the annual consumption of teabags in China accounts for about 5% of the total tea, while the world average is 23.5%.
Miss Diya, a writer with a degree in tea, believes that the popularity of tea bags in China has not been high. This stems from a different understanding of tea drinking.
In China, tea is a product of origin, and the habit of drinking tea is formed in the long social and historical evolution. Therefore, Chinese people prefer single leaf tea, which has a purer taste and a more cultural and ritual sense. Drinking utensils are also related to This matches.
Western tea is the result of commercial promotion. In order to quickly popularize and promote and obtain more consumer benefits, convenience and accommodating to the tastes and habits of users have become very important guidelines. Therefore, the West prefers tea made from tea powder. The bag is easier to smell when soaked, and it is also easier to carry. In order to make afternoon tea as a meal, the West is also used to adding milk and sugar to strong tea to match snacks and sweets. The quality of the tea bag itself does not seem so important.
“It is difficult to persuade the older generation in China to drink tea bags. The quality and taste are poor.” Miss Diya said.
Picture source Lipton official Weibo
With the development of new consumption, young people, who are the main consumers of teabags, have also become disgusted with old-brand teabags. The quality and taste are flawed.
A person in charge of Lipton and Twinings supplier Shi Xiu once mentioned in the article that the characteristics of the two purchased raw materials are extremely low prices and high safety. The raw materials for bulk goods in China generally do not exceed 15 yuan per kilogram, basically CTC and attached tea. Lipton and Twinings purchase raw materials from Malaysia and Indonesia at lower prices. “These teas are inferior teas. The pesticide residues and heavy metals are much higher than other teas in the domestic market. Many large Chinese tea companies use the qualified pesticide residues for export.” Shi Xiu said.
Chinese young people also have a time of loving Lipton. Back in 1992, Lipton first entered China, and it took only five years to win the No. 1 position in the tea bag industry. With the aura of foreign brands at the time and the advantages of easy-to-carry tea bags and relatively cheap prices, Lipton gained a firm foothold.
The well-known brand Chuanning from the United Kingdom, although it only entered China in 2006, it cuts into the British tea culture and highlights the British tea-making process that is different from the traditional Chinese tea-making method, which also inspired Chinese consumers. Curiosity.
Lipton and Twinings were the choices of young people at that time, but today, many years later, they have become neither high-end, but also somewhat outdated choices in terms of product packaging and taste.
“Liptons” are facing a crisis, but the demand for tea bags by young office workers has always existed.
An analysis by iiMedia Consulting pointed out that although overall, the number of teabag consumers is still relatively small compared with tea consumers, this is also the main reason why China’s consumption of teabags is relatively low. However, consumers have a very high consumption frequency of teabags, with 43.6% indicating that they drink teabags at least once a day.
In the drastically changing Chinese consumer market, young people have completed rounds of consumption upgrades, while the packaging design and product categories of “Liptons” appear to be slightly monotonous.
Lipton currently sells products in China including Lipton Yellow Card, Lipton Chinese Tea, Lipton Che Zi Tea and other categories.
In addition to these well-known, diversified products such as flavored tea, fruit tea and herbal tea are mostly launched in 2020. According to Lipton’s official data, as of the first three quarters of 2020, Lipton China’s new products launched in recent years accounted for 20% of its revenue.
Lipton in the crisis hopes to attract young people with diversified products, but the Chinese tea market has already undergone changes, from freshly made teas such as Hey Tea and Naixue ‘s tea to Oolong tea launched by brands such as Suntory, Uni-President, and Nongfu Spring . Products, young people want to drink tea, the choice has become more.
The slow movements of the “Liptons” also provided opportunities for the rise of new teabag brands. The rise of new stars such as Chali and Yibao Life has brought many new changes to the industry.
What did the “Teams” do right?
Emerging tea bag brands mostly provide solutions for the flaws of old tea bags.
When the “Liptons” were considered old-fashioned and outdated, young people’s desks were filled with all kinds of tea bags with innovative packaging and novel flavors.
Just as Huang Hai, vice president of Fengrui Capital, once put forward the concept of “production rate”, new teabag brands are also catering to the aesthetic tendency of young people. The product packaging of a pack of lifestyle brands contains elements such as retro and national trends that young people like today. Small cans of tea are packaged in powder, yellow, green and other candy colors on the basis of “small packaging”.
Outside packaging iteration, these brands also produce products play law is pasted onto the preferences of young people. In the “Daily Tea” series launched by Chali, the scene gameplay of “breakfast vitality, relieving tiredness after a meal, and refreshing afternoon” is used to increase consumers’ novel experience.
“Daily Tea” launched by Chali, the source of its official Weibo
However, the younger generation’s pursuit of product quality and taste still exists under the “face value doctrine” and “curiosity mentality”.
Looking at the current emerging teabag brands, they are emphasizing three development directions-high-end tea, production standardization and younger blending methods.
On the one hand, whole raw leaf tea is mostly used for processing in products, rather than broken leaves. With triangular bag equipment, it is easier to soak than traditional tea bags, but the selection of materials can be more high-end.
For example, Cha Xiaokong developed the “super-extraction technology” on the basis of the triangular tea bag, that is, the tea bag is brewed with room temperature water, and the drinking concentration can be reached after about 20 seconds or 50 times of proper shaking in the cup. At the same time, it can retain the original leaf shape and multi-layer flavor. To a certain extent, the convenience of tea bags is improved.
On the other hand, we strive to standardize the production of tea bags. Although many new tea bag brands use foundry production, many brands, including Chali, are building their own factories. Chali CMO Lin Chuan previously mentioned in an interview that it will be put into use in September this year to improve the standardization level of production.
Compared with tea bags, the production, packaging and sales of traditional Chinese tea are almost all non-standard. The price span of tea products from the production end to the consumer end may even reach more than 1,000 times. For example, the average transaction price of bulk green tea wool tea may be 120 yuan per kilogram, but in fact consumers often buy green tea for 6,000 yuan per pound.
Lin Chuan also mentioned to the media that the supply chain is one of the important factors restricting the development of the Xinrui teabag brand, and the supply chain brings product development risks and production capacity constraints, which must be resolved after they develop to a certain stage. problem.
At the same time, the common feature of the new teabags is blended tea, which points to a more diversified product taste.
The tea bags in the tea use the blending technology of foreign tea bags such as Twinings, and the taste is from the most basic black tea, green tea, oolong tea, etc., with more flavors added. For example, the hot white peach oolong in tea is to add the refreshing taste of fruit tea to oolong tea. The tea bags of Nai Xue, Hey Tea, and Tea Yanyue are very popular as soon as they are on the market, which is also due to the brand’s incorporation of the fruit and herbal tea flavors of milk tea into the tea bags.
According to the iResearch report, consumers in the teabag field most like teabag products with a variety of flowers and plants, and the price acceptance of single-box teabags is mainly distributed between 20-60 yuan.
In addition, these tea brands also start from taste and extend to more categories. For example, some products such as milk tea sticks, good night tea, collagen tea, instant fruit tea have been launched, so that young people are also willing to accept tea.
IiMedia Consulting’s report mentioned that the growth rate of the online teabag market will be significantly higher than that of traditional tea. On the one hand, the online market for teabags has a smaller base; on the other hand, teabag products are positioned for young consumers. Groups. Most of these groups are primitive Internet residents, and they are more accepting of portable and simple teabags. Therefore, teabag merchants can cater to the preferences of young consumers in terms of online marketing, product packaging, and copywriting.
The influx of “hey teas” makes the competition fiercer
The increasingly popular teabag industry has also ushered in more and more entrants.
Cha Yan Yue Se is very cautious in its expansion in the country, but it has frequently launched tea bags in the past two years; Hey Tea is also expanding its product categories, among which tea bags are one of the main products; Naixue’s tea is not only a development line On the channel, related products are also placed in a conspicuous position in the store.
They also make the teabag industry more competitive. When Naixue’s tea launched the “One Week Tea” and Hey Tea promoted the “One Week Tea” gift box, brands such as Cha Yan Yue Se also quickly kept up with this craze. When an explosive model appears, a group of brands will swarm up.
The field of teabags has become a red sea, and the survival and development of emerging brands are facing greater pressure.
Tuyuan Naixue’s Tea Tmall Shop
It is difficult for new consumer brands to skip marketing, but as online channels gradually “involve”, marketing becomes more and more difficult.
Angel investor Peng Cheng invested in Wuwei Maochajia in 2020, a tea and coffee brand that sells well on Taobao and other platforms.
In 2021, he hopes to continue to make some gains in this track, but finds that the promotion cost of the new brand is getting higher and higher.
“In the live broadcast rooms of Wei Ya and Li Jiaqi, or the slightly famous live broadcast rooms, only promotion can be done. Not only are there expensive pit fees, but the prices given are also very low. In the end, they basically lose money in the promotion.” Peng Cheng said .
This means that money must be invested in promotion in the early stage, in exchange for brand recognition, in order to obtain profit opportunities in the future. This is not a problem facing the teabag sector, but a common problem for all new consumer brands.
Fortunately, this field is welcoming the attention of more investors. Among them, Chali conducted a total of seven rounds of financing. The most recent one was on June 28, and it received hundreds of millions of yuan in financing. The investors are GGV Jiyuan Capital, Country Garden venture capital, Sina Weibo funds and eCapital.
However, marketing can build awareness, but it cannot help emerging companies improve their brand image in a short period of time. Many tea bag brands still appear in the live broadcast rooms of various platforms in the form of “cheap miscellaneous brands”.
“The production process of teabag is relatively simple, and the quality of tea is uneven. It is easy to have cheap products without standardized production and no brand to flood the market. This creates difficulties for the entire industry to upgrade.” Peng Cheng believes.
Behind the difficulty of establishing a brand image, emerging brands have been facing difficulties in products and other aspects.
The threshold for teabags is not high, but emerging brands are in the early stages of building a supply chain. New tea brands such as Hey Tea have accumulated years of accumulation. They have explored raw materials and suppliers when developing current teas, and they are powerful competitors.
In the supply chain, there is no gap between tea giants, and emerging brands need to make breakthroughs in taste. But so far, many brands are limited to homogenization competition. Flavors such as peach and oolong have just been sought after by consumers, and soon The entire industry is the same model, and the development threshold for many product flavors is not so high. This means that the breakthrough of new brands has become more difficult.
It is worth noting that, at present, the entire teabag market is still small. Compared with coffee consumption, the popularity and recognition of teabags among consumer groups are low. The more participants in the industry, the bigger the market is.
Therefore, the emergence of new brands and the violent arrival of tea giants have promoted the rise of tea bags, which is a good thing for the entire industry.
The potential of the teabag track has not yet been fully tapped. For players in the industry, a good time for development has come, and the competition has just begun.
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