In an effort to draw in more customers amidst increasing competition in China, Starbucks, the prominent American coffee chain, has introduced a new, smaller cup size, targeting its second-largest market.
Launched on Tuesday across its network of 6,500 stores, the 259ml cup is a key addition to Starbucks’ recently unveiled “Intenso Collection.” This cup allows for a higher espresso-to-milk or cream ratio, intensifying the flavor compared to the larger cup sizes. It’s available for 33 yuan ($4.51).
It is approximately one-third smaller than the 355ml “tall” cup, which begins at a base price of 30 yuan, yet larger than the company’s most compact “short” size, which holds 236 ml.
According to Ben Cavender, who serves as the Managing Director and leads the strategy division at China Market Research Group, Starbucks’ latest product launch is a strategic move aimed at consistently providing “innovative options” in the market, specifically targeting dedicated coffee enthusiasts.
“These probably won’t appeal to everyone but are a relatively easy line extension to implement,” he said.
This development coincides with Starbucks’ domestic competitors, like Luckin Coffee and Manner Coffee, which is backed by ByteDance, aggressively expanding and swiftly introducing new products.
These brands have garnered considerable consumer attention through partnerships, including Manner Coffee’s collaboration with the renowned French luxury brand Louis Vuitton and Luckin’s introduction of a liquor-infused latte in conjunction with China’s Kweichow Moutai. An insider familiar with the situation revealed that Starbucks’ novel cup size, a debut in China, is presently exclusive to mainland China, with its availability abroad contingent upon customer feedback.
Back in August, Starbucks reported a notable resurgence in China, as the easing of COVID restrictions led to increased demand in the catering and tourism sectors. The company has set a target of expanding its store count in the country to 9,000 by the year 2025.