Perceptual Mapping of Beverages: Coffee and Tea

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Perceptual Mapping of Beverages: Coffee and Tea

Asim Ayaz, Karthikeyan B., Vignesh S., Sunny Teotia, Sunwinder Pal Singh

To survive the onslaught of cut throat competition of the market it has become imperative for the organizations to understand and acknowledge the preferences and perceptions of the consumer and adapt accordingly. Hot beverages form an integral part in daily consumption of Indian consumers which has been a critical element in the flourishing tea and coffee industry. This paper attempts to comprehend the consumption pattern as well as how certain varieties of tea and coffee are perceived by the consumers. The premise for the research was to reveal the difference in perceptions regarding specific varieties of tea and coffee as perceived by the consumers vis-a-vis as projected by the marketers. Basic statistical tools were used to derive the result for the empirical study and results were formulated based on that.

Keywords: Multidimensional Scaling, Perceptual Mapping, Tea and Coffee Perceptual Mapping


A marketing concept that encompasses customer impression, awareness and/or consciousness about a company or its offerings. Customer perception is

typically affected

by advertising, reviews, public

relations, social media,


Consumer perception applies the concept of sensory perception to marketing and advertising. Just as sensory perception relates to how humans perceive and process sensory stimuli through their five senses, consumer perception pertains to how individuals form opinions about companies and the merchandise they offer through the purchases they make. Merchants apply consumer perception theory to determine how their customers perceive them. They also use consumer perception theory to develop marketing and advertising strategies intended to retain current customers -- and attract new ones.

Perceptual mapping is

a diagrammatic technique used by asset marketers that attempts to visually display the perceptions of customers or potential customers. Typically the position of a product, product line, brand, or company is displayed relative to their competition. Perceptual maps can have any number of dimensions but the most common is two dimensions. Perceptual mapping has been used extensively in marketing. This powerful technique is used in new product design, advertising, retail location, and many other marketing applications where the manager wants to know the basic cognitive dimensions of the product being evaluated and more

importantly the relative positioning of the product relative to the ones present in the market. The empirical study attempts to provide an insight on the consumer perception regarding selective varieties of tea and coffee. The study aims to quantify the sensory perceptions of the consumers by virtue of the survey conducted for the specific purpose and then provide conclusions and inferences basis the same.

Though, it is to be understood that the marketing messages only work out be the initiating point and any variation in the actual experience of the product to that of as was perceived by the consumers would lead to the non acceptance of the product.


India has a huge tea and coffee consumption which provides ample opportunity for the marketers to encash on the opportunity but the core issue with devising marketing strategy on these products is that it solely is driven on sensory stimulation of the consumers. Despite the fast growth of bottled juices and aerated drinks, consumption of tea and coffee is going up in India. Coffee consumption is up by 6% in the last few years while tea consumption has been showing a 3% annual growth.


Widespread popularity of carbonated beverages supported by intense promotional campaigns has not made a dent in the consumption of tea and coffee. Mushrooming coffee bars and cafes have made coffee drinking fashionable in cities. Coffee consumption has been aided by increasing urbanization and greater disposable income. Admittedly, south India as a region has the largest number of coffee drinkers.

Despite the availability of umpteen numbers of beverages, coffee continues to occupy an important place among all. Traditionally coffee is known as a south Indian drink, but growing demand for coffee in non-southern states over the past few years has started pushing up overall coffee consumption in the country. In India, tea is one of the most popular hot beverages. It is consumed daily in almost all homes, offered to guests, consumed in high amounts in domestic and official surroundings, and is made with the addition of milk with or without spices. It is also served with biscuits dipped in the tea and eaten before consuming the tea.

The more appealing or attractive consumers find the product the more likely that they are going to consume it.


The primary objective of the research work is to analyze the perceptual mapping of various varieties of tea and coffee in India. The comparison procedure we use is practical and is based on usage of multidimensional scaling which represents the preferences of respondents spatially by means of the visual display. The process began with the defining the scope the research and zeroing on the target respondents, which was taken to be urban and metro population. The dimensions basis which the respondents response were evaluated was defined and the survey was conducted.

The target group of the research was focused geographically with the population residing in urban and metros and demographically it is focused on respondents belonging to 18-60 years of age. The data was collected by conducting an online and personalized survey.

The semantic differential rating scale was used to evaluate the response. The semantic differential scale is a seven-point rating scale with end points associated with bipolar labels that have semantic

meaning. The scale controls the tendency of some respondents, particularly those with very positive or very negative attitudes, to mark the right- or left-hand sides without reading the labels.


To maintain the consistency and diversity of the respondents, the survey was personally shared with the respondents belonging to different geographies of the country, viz., Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore etc. The questionnaire evaluated the preferences of the respondents on tea and coffee catering to the sensory perceptions. The varieties of coffee which were under the purview of the study were Mocha, Frappe, Espresso, Black Coffee and Cappuccino while the varieties of tea under consideration were Lemon Tea, Ice Tea, Black Tea, White Tea and Iranian Tea.

The evaluation of the beverages was primarily done on two scales aroma and

taste. These two attributes were chosen basis various informal discussions amongst the target group on which attributes they perceive to most influential while choosing the beverage and accordingly the mentioned attributes were freezed.


The mentioned graphs show the perceptual map of different varieties of coffee and tea as perceived by the respondents. The expected and observed rankings of these beverages based on aroma and sweetness/bitterness is also highlighted.


Comparision of actual and perceived - Coffee

Sweetness Aroma Coffee Actual Perceived Actual Perceived

1 Mocha 2 4 3 5 2 Frappe 1 2 6 6 3 Espresso 5 5 2 4 4 Black Coffee 6 6 1 3 5 Latte 4 3 3 2 6 Cappuccino 3 1 3 1


Comparision of actual and perceived - Tea

Sweetness Aroma Tea Actual Perceived Actual Perceived 1 Lemon Tea 3 1 3 3 2 Ice tea 2 2 5 5 3 Black tea 5 5 1 1 4 White tea 1 3 4 2 5 Iranian Tea 4 4 2 4 MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS The results show that most of the varieties of coffee are available in the first quadrant (served hot and sweet) and the remaining ones are in the second quadrant (served hot and bitter). Another insight which has been derived is that these hot varieties of coffee are perceived differently by the people though they are not able to completely appreciate the minor differences. The huge gap in the cold coffee region can be captured after doing further relevant research.

There were not many varieties of tea as compared to coffee highlighting the fact that Indian youth prefer coffee over tea. More promotion is required (in similar lines to that of having exclusive coffee outlets like CCD, Starbucks) before launching new varieties.

Though people are unable to accurately perceive the differences in different

beverages, they were able to identify the difference which provides scope for companies to develop new varieties which will have good demand.



Research has to be done to identify whether people visit coffee bars as a rendezvous or to actually enjoy the beverage. This analysis will help us know whether people will be interested in different varieties of coffee or tea.


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