MILAN – South Korea ’s coffee imports in 2018 fell for the first time in six years, suggesting that the boom of coffee shops might have peaked, data showed Sunday.
Volumes fell to 143,000 tons in 2018, or a 1.8% decrease from the previous year, according to data by the Korea Customs Service.
It was the first time in six years that the annual volume of coffee imports fell, the data showed.
South Korea ’s coffee imports had been on a steady rise in recent years, with inbound shipments stood at 145,600 tons in 2017, 141,000 tons in 2016 and 128,000 tons in 2015.
Market watchers said that the decline in coffee imports is a sign that the domestic market has become saturated, with big companies, such as Starbucks and Dongsuh Foods continuing to grow, while small coffee shops are suffering from weaker sales and tougher competition.