2016 – It’s In The Tea Leaves!


As many re-engage with their work place after the holiday season or their summer holiday vacation, we start to look at the year ahead. What goals we need to achieve, what’s our aspirations for the coming year, when will I be taking my next holiday and where! All the important things in life. Many businesses around the country will of been considering their financial year ahead, the highs and the lows.

So what does 2016 hold in store for the Australian tea industry? With the continued trending fashion of tea globally, which is creating greater interest by various forms of the media, and so fuels the fashion.

New start-ups in various forms of tea retailing will continue to grow. Online retailing is seen as an easy option for many looking to break into the tea industry, not having to consider the highly priced rent of a retail outlet. The last few years have seen the dramatic growth of online retailing around the world and in many different product lines. Tea being so easily packed and sent, has not only seen businesses take advantage of the domestic market but also global opportunities. 2016 will continue to see online tea business start-ups operate on this platform and increase in number.

The “High Tea” phenomena continues to create growth in the tea and cake industry here in Australia and in other countries around the world. Tea shops, bakeries, patisserie, café’s, restaurants and hotels continue to see the advantage of upselling the high tea option to their consumers. Many tea shops have now become high tea recognized establishments by specializing in this form of social enjoyment. Hotels recognize the opportunity of utilizing space that can facilitate the service of high tea, without interfering with lunch or dinner service. All this interest in high teas helps create interest and sales of various teas and tisane.

The largest tea event on the Australian calendar is the Sydney Tea Festival. Which, at a single one-day event brings together the largest number of tea and tea related businesses in one place. The event also attracts thousands of Australian tea lovers who like to taste, discuss, and then purchase tea, accessories and tea wares. The 2015 Sydney Tea Festival reached a record attendance number of over ten thousand people. 2016’s venue and dates have not yet been announced but 18ThirtyFour will confirm these and inform you as soon as possible.

The global trend and growth in sales of green tea and tisane looks to continue in 2016. The health related aspects associated with green tea is creating a steady growth in sales of its various forms. The association of green tea and its health benefits are seen by many people as a suitable fit into their healthier lifestyle. It is expected that the overweight global population will have passed the 1.5 billion people being considered as overweight during 2015, as estimated by the World Health Organisation. In places like the US, Canada, India, Europe and parts of Asia green tea is considered as a health benefit and may aid in weight reduction. These health beliefs are fueling dramatic rises in green tea sales globally. There are predictions by analysts using a Compound Annual Growth Rate of over 10% growth in sales of green tea over the next few years.

As I mentioned in my review of 2015, I would like to see a large new player with the financial clout to enter the Australian market. I believe Unilever’s T2 branding and retail outlets have created an enormous change in the way that the Australian public view tea. The lifestyle that they sell to us fits in nicely with our modern day Australia, however it’s now time for a new influence to be able to offer an alternative. This would generate further interest from the public and the media. Take a look at the fashion industry and how the European retail fashion houses are dominating the high street malls. This can create demand for smaller specialty shops and bespoke producers. The quality of tea in the Australian tea market has greatly increased, and now we are seeing the emergence of individual blending for customers by tea retailers. The big players create the interest, the public demand grows, the specialty retailers provide and the ripple effect flows across the pond.

I feel 2016 is going to be a fabulous year for the Australian tea industry and of course it will have its lumps and bumps along the way. But with all the entrepreneurial talent I get to meet, the enthusiasm that people are showing towards tea, the growing focus on the health aspects of tea and just the fact that now you can get a bloody good cuppa! most of the time! Why shouldn’t 2016 be a great year for Australian tea.


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        David Lyons

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        ACT 2612, Australia

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