Starbucks Vietnam: Why?

Published on 6 August 2023 at 17:43

Starbucks Vietnam: Why the US chain cannot crack a coffee-loving nation. By Thuong Le BBC Vietnam

Ten years after the American chain arrived in Vietnam, the verdict is quite clear: Vietnamese people love coffee, but they don't really seem to like Starbucks. And the ones who do, like Tu Anh Le, are not really going for the coffee.

Starbucks accounted for just 2% of Vietnam's $1.2bn (£934m) coffee-drinking market in 2022, according to Euromonitor International. And its footprint in the country isn't expanding rapidly. It has 92 stores, which works out to less than one for every million people. By comparison, Thailand and Indonesia have about seven and two respectively.

"Starbucks' presence remains limited due to [the] consumer preference for local coffee flavours," says Nathanael Lim, an analyst at Euromonitor International.

While Starbucks told the BBC it was committed to long-term investment in Vietnam, it did not say if it was profitable in the country.

But it has still fared better than other international competitors. Another US chain, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, only has 15 stores here after 15 years. The Chinese-owned Mellower Coffee recently announced it was closing its doors after four years, while Australia's Gloria Jean's left Vietnam in 2017.

They all probably faced the same challenges as Starbucks. Vietnam, after all, is no stranger to coffee: It's the world's second largest exporter of the brew. Read the article in its entirety on BBC NEWS