Tea - Audience Types, Ages, and Preferences

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Tea - Audience Types, Ages, and Preferences

The typical tea drinker, especially specialty teas, is a Millennial woman. She sees tea as a healthful option to soda or coffee, whether it truly is or not. She is college educated and has better than average income. She wants her brands to be environmentally sound and to have a social purpose. She will pay a premium for this, along with paying more for "experiences".

Tea Drinkers- Demographics

  • 80% of homes have some sort of tea in their house.
  • According to the Tea Association of the USA, almost 160 million Americans drink either iced tea or hot tea at least once per day.
  • Since it is the only beverage that is served hot or cold on a regular basis, the beverage appeals to many kinds of people, which speaks to why Americans drank over 3.8 billion gallons of it in 2018.


  • 87% of Millennials state they regularly drink tea.
  • Baby Boomers, according to Teabox, are likely to seek out more healthful drink options and new taste experiences as they age, and tea meets those criteria.
  • An older demographic study on specialty tea drinkers stated that 23.1% of tea drinkers were 30-39 years old, followed by 20-29 year-old (19.4%), 60+ (17.5%), 50-59 year-old (12.7%), and 40-49 year old (13.1%).



  • Mexican Americans and non-Hispanic Blacks are the least likely to drink tea.
  • Asians and Caucasians are more likely to drink tea.


  • College-educated Americans are more likely to drink tea, especially specialty tea, than those who are not.
  • The percent of tea consumers approximately doubles with rising education and incomes.
  • The best consumers of tea have a household income above $100,000. Overall, the majority of specialty tea is purchased by those that make over $50,000 per household, again indicating tea's ability to cross multiple demographics.
  • If a label is desired, the specialty tea drinker could be described as an upper mid-scale suburbanite.  

Household Size

  • Two-person households have the highest percentage of people who buy specialty teas (36.8%). Families with five or more are the least likely to buy specialty tea (11.1%).


  • The South and the Northeast have the greatest number of tea drinkers, but when we take account the number of tea drinkers in the US, geography becomes of less importance.
  • Specialty teas are the most popular in the Pacific and South Atlantic regions.
  • Rural areas are less likely to buy specialty tea than urban and suburban areas.

Demographic Analysis

  • Research indicates that Millennials, as a whole, are the biggest drinkers of tea. Slightly more women than men drink tea, and the specialty tea drinkers tend to be more educated and have a higher income. Additionally, Caucasians and Asians drink more specialty teas than other ethnicities.
  • Even though the female Millennial is the key demographic, Millennial males are quickly making tea their drink of choice. Baby Boomers are also a demographic to not ignore, as they tend to drink tea for new flavor profiles and the health benefits.

Tea Drinkers- Psychographics

For this psychographic, the key demographic of a Millennial female has been used. She is most likely married and has children.


  • This group accounts for 2/3 of all first time home buyers.
  • More than half want to own a home if they do not already own one.


  • She is a working mother that averages at least 25 hours per week. There is a 40% chance that she is the main breadwinner for the family. 71% are employed.
  • Millennial women and minorities are launching new businesses at a faster rate than any other segment of the population.


  • They are generally accepting of others.
  • She is most likely politically moderate.  
  • Social causes are important and ways to support them are sought out.
  • 51% expect their brands to give back to society.
  • She is ready for a female president (83%) and would have voted for Hillary Clinton (49%).
  • 61% are concerned about the state of the world and feel personally responsible for making a difference.
  • 84% do not trust traditional advertising.
  • Millennials not only want to know what a product can do, but they want to know how it will make them feel. Loyalty, success, and happiness are some of the top values of this generation.
  • 87%, at one time or another, have donated to a cause they were passionate about.
  • 48% state they volunteer, and 63% plan to volunteer in the future.
  • 37% are more receptive to cause marketing, like buy a pair, give a pair models.


  • More than 90% own a smartphone and use it regularly. They check their phones, on average, 43 times per day.

Health Habits

  • This group is more focused on healthy eating than other groups and will pay a premium for healthier foods.
  • Anxiety, stress, and depression are higher in this age group than in other generations.
  • Google Trends suggests that when women research healthy living, they are looking for food-related information, whereas men are looking for exercise-related information.
  • Millennial women are more apt to put off preventative care than men (82% and 78%). These high rates make them more likely to self- diagnose and self-treat.

Social Media Habits

  • Millennials account for over 70% of Snapchat users.
  • More than 90% are on Facebook.
  • They are 247% more likely to be influenced by blogs or social media sites than advertisements.
  • 43% of Millennial women use Pinterest for food and drink inspiration when entertaining.
  • 85% post pictures of past experiences on social media and 80% will post in real-time.
  • 72% will share from other websites to social media.
  • Social media is used as a referral system for many when researching products.


  • She researches and discusses beauty.
  • She likes to experiment with food (79%).
  • DIY content is one of the most popular viewing topics on YouTube.
  • They will take 4.2 trips this year (pre-COVID-19 statistic).
  • 70% of Millennial women consider shopping to be entertainment.


  • Millennials favor high-quality tea products.
  • 60% of Millennials will spend over $4 on a single cup of coffee.
  • 70% report they would spend a little extra to eat at the "hip" restaurants in town.
  • The majority (80%) would rather spend on experiences than things.
  • They will spend more on a socially responsible product.
  • 89% of Millennials will trust a recommendation from friends or family more than claims by the brand.
  • 44% are willing to promote products or services on social media in exchange for rewards.
  • 84% report that user-generated content on a company website can influence what they buy.
  • 77% participate in loyalty rewards programs.
  • 70% are unfazed by a celebrity endorsement.
  • 83% shop online to hunt for the best price instead of going from store to store.
  • 34% will spend more on an environmentally friendly product. When responding to ad themes, humor (57%), social good (57%), cause-related (36%), motivational (33%), and real-life scenarios (30%), are the most popular with Millennial women.

American Consumer Tea Preferences

General Preferences

  • Only 15-20% of the tea consumed is hot tea in the US.
  • 86% of the tea consumed is one of the black tea varieties, followed by green tea (13%). The remaining 1% is divided between white, dark, and oolong.

GenZ Preferences

  • The youngest consumers, GenZ, have a preference for green tea (38%). Only 19% prefer black tea.
  • They also prefer herbal and sweet tea (67% equally), when asked what flavors and infusions they preferred the most.


  • Millennials prefer a fruity (72%) or herbal blend (64%).

Millennial & GenZ Trends

  • Millennials and GenZ both have a growing demand for healthier alternatives overall, and these preferences also apply to their tea choices.
  • These groups are also driving the demand for boba, milk teas, and other non-classic teas.
  • These groups have also driven the demand for sparkling iced-teas, like kombucha, for example.

Unpopular Choice

  • Plain or unflavored teas were the most unpopular choices for GenZ and Millennials.

Convenience Rules

  • Consumers, as a whole, will opt for RTD teas when possible due to the convenience, even though there is a growing interest in the younger generation for learning about tea ceremonies, and to understand the story behind their tea.

Different Types of American Tea Drinkers

  • Grady Britton, a marketing company, suggests there are three different types of tea drinkers in America besides the 75-80% that drink iced tea.
  • Health Worshipers drink tea for the assumed health benefits. They most likely will pick green tea for the antioxidants and bioactive compounds. They may not consume it on a daily basis, but they keep a supply at home for days when they feel sick or stressed out. They possibly think of tea as a homeopathic medicine and would turn to it before taking other medicines.
  • Ex-Coffee Addicts are similar to Health Worshipers but there is a key difference. They love coffee. They have had to give up coffee because it has caused them some sort of issue or discomfort, and now they turn to tea as an alternative to coffee drinking.
  • Cultural Curators appreciate cultural and heritage related rituals. These tea drinkers like hand-crafted or artisanal teas and are willing to pay a premium. They may frequent tea bars and import loose-leaf from specialty stores online. They have an academic or ethnographic interest in tea, rather than an interest in wellness.