How do consumers view such a well-established category as hot beverages? We asked shopper behaviour expert Visuality to research their shopping habits.

Its research found that the majority of consumers shop at least once a month for tea and coffee but less frequently for herbal teas and hot chocolate.

Almost 90% of shoppers interviewed claimed to have come into the store intending to buy a specific product. Shoppers appear to buy their favourite product before they run out, hence their willingness to delay a purchase if the product they want is unavailable.

The majority of shoppers buy for home use, but a few buy for the office. There is a tendency for the shoppers buying for the office to buy own label.

Three quarters of the shoppers say they buy the same brand. The remainder, how­ever, are more willing to try new brands and regard offers as an effective way of encouraging them to try new products.

Flavour and price are the two main features that shoppers look for when buying hot drinks, although there is a minority of shoppers who look for organic and fair trade tea and coffee.

The majority of shoppers think the range and choice of hot beverages is good and say they can always find what they want.

The category appears to have the opportunity to be more dynamic, with 27% of shoppers saying that they do take the time to see if there if something different from their ­regular drink.

Hot beverages is an interesting category and shoppers feel comfortable buying their regular purchases. However, at least a quarter of the shoppers are looking to extend their repertoire and knowledge of other types of drinks available.

Herbal and fruit teas and speciality instant coffees are attracting the majority of new interest. Consumers would also like to see an expansion in the ranges of organic and fair trade coffee available. Shoppers are picking up and comparing these brands and products with each other.