Coffee subscription services gather momentum post-pandemic with 105% annual growth, leveraged by affiliate marketing sites

Coffee subscription services are still growing in popularity, showing a 105% increase in year-on-year (YoY) sales, despite coffee shops once again opening their doors following the end of COVID restrictions. According to data from affiliate marketing platform, Awin, this large increase has been strongly supported by affiliate marketing sites, with discount code affiliates and content and blogger sites collectively accounting for 72% of all subscription sales.

Data from the Awin network shows that Brits spent over £500k in the last year on coffee subscriptions delivered direct to their door. The increase in subscription sales also coincides with a rise of almost 90% in the average order value, an increase from £18 in 2020 to £34 in 2021. 

Speciality coffee roasters offering subscription-based models experienced an exponential increase after the closure of pubs, offices and restaurants as a consequence of the COVID restrictions in 2020. Subscriptions saw an immediate spike in April 2020, the first full month of the UK lockdown, with sales increasing +115% month-on-month (MoM). Since then, monthly subscriptions have trended far above the pre-pandemic baseline, with sales gathering momentum again in July 2021 with continued MoM growth.

Affiliate marketing underpins growth

Delving into the affiliate types supporting the growth in coffee subscription performance reveals some interesting trends, with content and blogger sites accounting for 25% of all subscription sales. Discount code affiliates account for almost half (47%), with the remainder of the sales mix made up from cashback (18%), loyalty (7%) and technology partners (3%). In total, the return on investment for affiliate activity in the coffee subscription market was £13:1.

Awin has also tracked a 62% YoY growth in technology partners, with coffee subscription brands utilising them to serve on-site and retargeting optimisation strategies as part of their digital-first approach.  

“There’s no doubt the COVID pandemic has had a huge impact on the way coffee is consumed across the UK, with coffee connoisseurs replacing regular trips to cafes and restaurants with speciality roasts delivered directly to their door. As a result, we’ve seen a significant rise in the number of coffee roasters offering subscription-based models to their customers”, said Lee Metters, retail and travel client partner at Awin.

“What’s perhaps more surprising is that direct-to-consumer coffee sales gathered momentum through 2021, despite the return to more normality with hospitality venues reopening. Affiliate marketing sites have played a key role in supporting coffee roasting brands looking to boost their conversion in an increasingly competitive landscape.”