Starbucks – Internet Market Research (Defining the Problem)


For my Internet Market Research course, I conducted a research around Starbucks and the consumption of plastic and paper cups.

What better way to start your day with a freshly brewed cup of coffee? The hot beverage even tastes better when you don’t have to pour if yourself, right? With 24,464 stores around the world, there is no doubt Starbucks is one of the major coffee chains. In 2016, Starbucks’s revenue reached 21.32 billion U.S. dollars. Every year, they sell approximately 4 billion cups globally.

Some with their recyclable logo may trick you but unfortunately, these paper and plastic cups, like from many other coffee chains, aren’t recyclable. The City of Toronto declared “an estimated 45,000 tonnes of garbage were mistakenly put into recycling bins last year alone”. This includes paper and plastic coffee cups.

Starbucks is listening to their customers’ concerns and try its best to lead to an eco-friendly company by offering recycled material for their paper bags and napkins, 10¢ discount every time a customer brings his or her own cup and 10% post-consumer recycled fiber for the hot beverage paper cups. Those paper cups are lined with plastic or wax and therefore, the only component that can be recycled is the cardboard cup sleeve.

As per this article called “30 Curious Starbucks Demographics” published on January 2016, these are the different target of Starbucks:

  1. Primary audience: Starbucks consumers within the 25-40 age demographic
  2. Secondary audience: Young adults in the 18-24 age demographic
  3. Tertiary audience: Teenagers under the age of 18

Other stakeholders: Environmental Alliances/Communities, Cities, Government, Manufacturer

Collecting Quantitative and Qualitative market research can have a bigger impact on companies like Starbucks who are a number focussed but also a customer focussed company. Showing them what their customers think and alternative to grow their business is a great opportunity to change up thing. However, the survey is based on a small proportion of Starbucks coffee drinkers and might not be fully representative of the entire opinion of their customers.

To read more about this research, click on the various steps:

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