Pod Coffee Machine Survey Reveals Limited Sales
Jul 26, 2004
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New coffee pod machines that brew individual cups of coffee in seconds are not likely to lure consumers away from coffee houses, according to a new study from NPD Group.
"The majority of the people said it is not going to change their behavior in going outside the home," Peter Greene, vice president and general manager at NPD Houseworld, a unit of research firm NPD Group, said of the survey.

According to the report, "Coffee Pods: A Consumer Perspective," 27 percent of those who drink coffee would consider buying the machines for themselves and 29 percent said they would consider giving the machines as a gift.

Mr. Greene said the NPD research showed that the people interested in the machines were more likely to be instant coffee drinkers. The machines also are not likely to make a big dent in sales of traditional drip coffee makers, he said.

In addition, Mr. Greene predicted that eventually only two manufacturers will succeed in the market and that the coffee pod machines will make up no more than 5 percent of the 24 million coffee machines bought each year in the U.S.

Also, of the people who have bought the machines, 68 percent said they consider them an addition to standard coffee makers. Only 10 percent who have already bought the pod machines say they would use them when they entertain, as opposed to a standard coffee maker, the survey said.

There also seems to be some confusion in the market over what exactly the machines are, Mr. Greene said. Of U.S. coffee drinkers surveyed, about half said they were familiar with the machines. But when they were actually shown the machines, the percentage falls to 40 percent, he said.

The machines on the market or expected to reach the U.S. include Senseo, from Sara Lee in partnership with appliance maker Philips; Home Cafe from Folger's coffee maker P&G and several manufacturers; and a machine by Kraft and Gillette Co.'s Braun unit. (Reuters)

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