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China Ready-To-Drink Tea Market Report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Ready-To-Drink Tea market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Key points included

  • Re-imagine more goal-driven consumption occasions
  • New business opportunities arise from ancient wisdom
  • Prioritise ‘freshness’ to effectively communicate premium quality

Covered in this report

RTD tea beverages in this report refer to ready-to-drink traditional Chinese herbal tea, represented by Wanglaoji or Jiaduobao and ready-to-drink non-herbal tea, including packaged black, green and other tea drinks (milk tea and other tea such as oolong tea and jasmine tea).

Excluded:Teabags and loose tea leaves are not covered in this report.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Wenxin Xu, a leading analyst in the Food & Drink sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

The RTD tea beverage market in China is experiencing stagnant market growth due to the hurdle of keeping consumers always excited as competition in the overall drinks category is fiercer than ever. To preserve the market growth, brands and companies could look to branding which could allow consumers to better understand the premium cues of freshness, pureness, functional benefits, overall wellbeing and more Wenxin Xu
Food & Drink Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Covered in this Report
        • Excluded
        • Executive Summary

            • The market
              • A saturated market plateauing
                • Figure 1: Best-and worst-case forecast for retail RTD tea beverages, by value, 2013-23
              • Herbal tea remains popular while non-herbal tea might have greater potential
                • Companies and brands
                  • Leading players lost market share to smaller players
                    • Seeking diversity through new channels
                      • Blurring line to spark excitement
                        • The consumer
                          • Increase in consumption reflects popularity
                            • Figure 2: Drinking trend, January 2019
                          • Immediacy is hard to replace but added functional benefits should not be overlooked
                            • Figure 3: Reasons for consumption, January 2019
                          • Similar preferential taste with difference in tolerable additives
                            • Figure 4: Attitudes toward consumption, January 2019
                          • Seeking premium cues from safety to enriched nutrition
                            • Figure 5: Premium claims, January 2019
                          • Unsure about sugar and sweeteners
                            • Figure 6: Attitudes towards sugar, January 2019
                          • Craving for innovative ingredients and texture along with better-for-you functions
                            • Figure 7: Interest in innovation, January 2019
                          • What we think
                          • Issues and Insights

                            • Prioritise ‘freshness’ to effectively communicate premium quality
                              • The facts
                                • The implications
                                  • Figure 8: Nongfu Spring’s website banner introducing its clean water sources
                                  • Figure 9: Nongfu Spring’s RTD tea product ‘Tea π’, famous for its eye-catching packaging design
                                • Re-imagine more goal-driven consumption occasions
                                  • The facts
                                    • The implications
                                      • Figure 10: Suntory Japan’s Gomamugicha commercial
                                      • Figure 11: Suntory Japan’s black oolong tea commercial
                                    • New business opportunities arise from ancient wisdom
                                      • The facts
                                        • The implications
                                        • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                          • The market for RTD tea beverages is saturated
                                            • On-trade channels could bring inspiration to RTD tea beverages
                                              • The non-herbal tea segment has the bigger potential to thrive
                                              • Market Size and Forecast

                                                • Saturated market is readjusting from the impact of competitors
                                                  • Figure 12: Best-and worst-case forecast for retail RTD tea beverages, by value, 2013-23
                                                • Pushing product innovation forward to resist retail volume shrinkage
                                                  • Figure 13: Best-and worst-case forecast for retail RTD tea beverages, by volume, 2013-23
                                              • Market Factors

                                                • More players driving fierce competition with premiumisation
                                                  • Technology making sales channel expansion possible
                                                    • Threats from fierce competition and shrinking core user group diminishing growth momentum
                                                    • Market Segmentation

                                                      • Herbal tea
                                                        • Figure 14: Best-and worst-case forecast for herbal tea, by value, 2013-23
                                                      • Non-herbal tea
                                                        • Figure 15: Best-and worst-case forecast for non-herbal tea, by value, 2013-23
                                                    • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                                                      • Leading non-herbal tea players resist market share loss
                                                        • Ambitious newcomers establishing market through niche claims
                                                          • Test run fresh ideas through foodservice industry
                                                          • Market Share

                                                            • Leading player’s growth driven by RTD herbal tea
                                                              • Non-herbal tea segment sees impact from fierce competition
                                                                • Other players pressure front runners with premium cues
                                                                  • Figure 16: Market share of leading RTD tea players, by volume, China, 2017 and 2018
                                                                  • Figure 17: Market share of leading RTD tea players, by value, China, 2017 and 2018
                                                                  • Figure 18: CR Cestbon’s sugar-free RTD tea beverage featuring added fibre
                                                                  • Figure 19: Genki Forest’s RTD tea beverage products with added fibre and collagen
                                                              • Competitive Strategies

                                                                • New products testing through foodservice business
                                                                  • Figure 20: Wanglaoji herbal tea’s tea shop grand opening
                                                                • Levelling up the sponsorship game to keep branding young
                                                                  • Figure 21: Master Kang’s sponsorship investment in popular reality show
                                                                  • Figure 22: Nongfu Spring’s latest sponsored idol for ‘Tea π’
                                                                • Freshness is communicated through short shelf life and new packaging types
                                                                  • Figure 23: Unif chilled RTD tea featuring short shelf life
                                                                  • Figure 24: Xiangpiaopiao’s RTD tea beverage new product launches
                                                                • Leveraging media channels to gain targeted audience’s attention
                                                                  • Figure 25: Xiangpiaopiao’s RTD tea beverage new product launches
                                                              • Who’s Innovating?

                                                                • China (incl. Taiwan): freshness could be enjoyed through eyes
                                                                  • Figure 26: The new launches in RTD tea beverage’s packaging type, China, 2016-18
                                                                  • Figure 27: The new launches in RTD tea beverage’s packaging material, China, 2016-18
                                                                  • Figure 28: RTD tea beverages made with cold brew method
                                                                • Global: ancient wisdom resonates with natural claims
                                                                  • Figure 29: RTD tea beverages made with novel ingredients
                                                                • Global: fermentation continues to brew due to its health benefit and distinctive taste and texture
                                                                  • Figure 30: Kombucha products from APAC region
                                                                  • Figure 31: Hey Juice’s RTD kombucha
                                                                  • Figure 32: The Living Apothecary dairy-free kefir drink featuring white peony and lavender tea
                                                                • Global: blended drinks with popular ingredients keeping category refreshing
                                                                  • Figure 33: RTD tea beverages infused with fruit juice, Japan
                                                                  • Figure 34: RTD tea beverages infused with coconut milk and water, US
                                                              • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                • Cultivating consumption habits for those who are not yet followers
                                                                  • Accentuating naturalness and freshness
                                                                    • Blurring the category lines
                                                                    • Drinking Trend

                                                                      • RTD tea drink category becomes more popular under premiumisation
                                                                        • Figure 35: Drinking trends, January 2019
                                                                      • Users of RTD tea beverages are skewed to young consumers
                                                                        • Figure 36: Drinking trend, RTD tea drinks, January 2019
                                                                    • Reasons for Consumption

                                                                      • Immediacy tops all reasons for consumption
                                                                        • Figure 37: Reasons for consumption, January 2019
                                                                      • Living environment and lenses on health might play crucial role in differentiating regional preferences
                                                                        • Figure 38: Reasons for consumption, by regions, January 2019
                                                                      • Majority of the users would be satisfied with 3-4 types of functions
                                                                      • Attitudes toward Consumption

                                                                        • Age determines preferable taste towards RTD tea
                                                                          • Figure 39: Attitudes toward consumption, January 2019
                                                                          • Figure 40: Attitudes toward consumption, January 2019
                                                                          • Figure 41: Attitudes toward consumption, January 2019
                                                                        • Twenty-somethings have high expectations for beverage packaging
                                                                          • Figure 42: Attitudes toward consumption, January 2019
                                                                        • High income level consumers or parents tend to plan ahead or present adventurous purchase behaviour
                                                                          • Figure 43: Attitudes toward consumption, by family structure and monthly personal income, January 2019
                                                                          • Figure 44: Attitudes toward consumption, by family structure and monthly personal income, January 2019
                                                                      • Premium Claims

                                                                        • High safety standards and health benefits signal premium expectation
                                                                            • Figure 45: Premium claims, January 2019
                                                                          • Overall Chinese tea drinkers have become more aware of the health benefits of tea, with young consumers embracing new features
                                                                            • Figure 46: Premium claims, by generations, January 2019
                                                                        • Attitudes towards Sugar

                                                                          • Natural sweeteners denote healthier status
                                                                            • Figure 47: Attitudes towards sugar, January 2019
                                                                          • Consumers in their late 20s and older are more adaptable to some natural sugar
                                                                            • Figure 48: Attitudes towards sugar, by age groups, January 2019
                                                                        • Interest in Innovation

                                                                          • Fruity, floral and alternative dairy ingredients spark interest
                                                                            • Figure 49: Interest in innovation, January 2019
                                                                          • Innovation intrigues more users with high household income
                                                                            • Figure 50: Interest in innovation, by monthly household income level, January 2019
                                                                          • 3-4 types of innovation could fill the gap in between curious minds and current selection
                                                                          • Meet the Mintropolitans

                                                                            • Expect to feel good from consuming RTD tea beverages
                                                                              • Figure 51: Reasons for consumption, by consumer classification, January 2019
                                                                            • More drawn into health claims or niche processing techniques
                                                                              • Figure 52: Premium claims, by consumer classification, January 2019
                                                                            • More accepting of sugar substitutes
                                                                              • Figure 53: Attitudes towards consumption, by consumer classification, January 2019
                                                                              • Figure 54: Attitudes towards consumption, by consumer classification, January 2019
                                                                          • Appendix – Market Size and Forecast

                                                                              • Figure 55: Total market value of RTD tea, China, 2013-23
                                                                              • Figure 56: Total market volume of RTD tea, China, 2013-23
                                                                          • Appendix – Market Segmentation

                                                                              • Figure 57: Total market value of RTD herbal tea, China, 2013-23
                                                                              • Figure 58: Total market volume of RTD herbal tea, China, 2013-23
                                                                              • Figure 59: Total market value of RTD non-herbal tea, China, 2013-23
                                                                              • Figure 60: Total market volume of RTD non-herbal tea, China, 2013-23
                                                                          • Appendix – Methodology and Abbreviations

                                                                            • Methodology
                                                                              • Fan chart forecast
                                                                                • Abbreviations