Covid Impact on Bubble Tea – How Demographics Changed

COVID-19 undoubtedly changed almost every aspect of our lives. All around the world people's lives were disrupted and nothing will be quite the same again. This extends from our work and social life to our diet and eating habits. And one of the tastes that many people picked up during the last two years is bubble tea.

Bubble tea shops were springing up all over the UK prior to the pandemic and were incredibly popular among the millennial generation – particularly university students and young office workers. But with the disruption caused in the last two years, what was the covid impact on bubble tea?

Bubble Tea – The History

Originating in Taiwan in the 1980s the combination of milky tea, fruity flavours, and chewy tapioca balls proved irresistible and the craze quickly grew. From humble origins in a cafe in Taiwan bubble tea (or ‘Boba') the combination of drink and dessert quickly grew through South East Asia and became a staple treat. Taipec has been supplying the UK market with Taiwanese cuisine for years and sharing the best of bubble tea is our passion.

Growth in the UK & Covid Impact on Bubble Tea

The UK was one of the last markets that bubble tea entered, but once we had a taste we were hooked. One of our previous blog posts explored the rise of bubble tea in the UK and with nearly 300 bubble tea shops and counting in the UK alone, bubble tea was on the rise. Prior to the last two years it is undoubtedly true that bubble tea was popular, but it was overwhelmingly consumed by international university students and young office workers… Two demographics that evaporated overnight in the early days of the pandemic.

So what would happen to the emerging bubble tea market with its primary customers gone? Well, as luck would have it the irresistible appeal of the colourful bubble tea proved enduring and bubble tea found a wider appeal. Today, the queues outside a bubble tea shop are a true cross-section of society.

Looking to the Future

As the world returned to a new normal and people returned to the office and classroom, the popularity of bubble tea was renewed. Now, stroll down the high street of any major city in the UK and you will likely see the bright colours of a bubble tea in a brightly coloured cup.

So what does that mean for bubble tea retailers? For starters, the bubble tea market is set to continue to grow in the UK and the market is broad. As the stereotypical home of tea, it's hardly surprising that bubble tea has taken off in the UK.

If you're looking to start a bubble tea shop or incorporate bubble tea in to your menu then see our other blogs. And if you're interested in the best of bubble tea supplies, check out our products.