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Starbucks Taps into the Indian Market

By Joe Cox

The coffee shop giant Starbucks is continuing its expansion into emerging markets as it looks set to finally make the breakthrough in India. With 544 stores now in China and operations in 57 countries the corporation is clearly set on world domination as it continues its expansion into Asian markets by announcing its partnership with India’s flagship conglomerate Tata Global Beverages in a 50/50 deal that will see it open up its first stores in Delhi and Mumbai by August 2012. A separate agreement will allow Tata coffee to roast and sell Indian coffee to the new stores, which will go under the brand name of Tata Starbucks Limited, as well as shipping its coffee worldwide.

It’s interesting to see a powerful ‘in-home’ Indian brand, combine forces with the world renowned Starbucks ‘out-of-home’ brand. Powerful allegiances like this highlight the huge potential markets for these kinds of brands. India, traditionally seen as a tea loving nation, is seen as the last great untapped market for the Seattle based Starbucks coffee shop chain. As India’s emerging middle classes continue to drink more coffee, one can only imagine the huge untapped market potential in this and the other emerging super economies like China, for café quality coffee machines. The skylines of Delhi, Mumbai, as well as Beijing are full of tower blocks housing hundreds of thousands of workers. 

If these countries are adopting a similar café culture as that which has emerged in the UK over the last ten years or so, I see no reason why a nascent demand for café quality office vending machines, such as the Flavia, wouldn’t be a part of this too. Far from being hampered by a global slump that is more pronounced in Western markets, the global café quality coffee vending industry could be on the verge of considerable growth. The popularity of the Starbucks brand worldwide is surely indicative of a worldwide demand for café quality coffee in the workplace, as well as outside it.

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