Starbucks Starts Getting Creative to Keep Their American Consumers

By: Beth Moreton | Published: May 11, 2024

Starbucks has long been one of the leading businesses in serving coffee to Americans and people all over the world.

However, Americans have recently been moving away from the coffee chain, so Starbucks has had to get creative to try and retain its American customers.

Starbucks Was Worth $150 Billion

Starbucks went from having 165 stores in 1992 to being worth $150 billion at its peak. 

A plastic Starbucks cup with coffee and ice inside.

Source: Gema Saputera/Unsplash

However, Starbucks had a disappointing first quarter in 2024, with a global revenue of $8.56 billion. 

The Number of Starbucks’ American Customers Has Fallen

In 2024, Starbucks noticed a fall in the number of American customers walking through its doors and buying a coffee. 

An empty Starbucks shop. The Starbucks logo is hanging from the ceiling. Plants are in the store, and trees are outside.

Source: S. Ratanak/Unsplash

So much so that the number of American customers was lower than during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the number of transactions was worse than during the global financial crisis. 

Starbucks Customers Hate Waiting Times

One of Starbucks’ biggest downfalls has been its waiting times and lack of availability of various products. 

The outside of a Starbucks store. The outside sign says “Starbucks Coffee” in white and is lit up.

Source: June Andrei George/Unsplash

This appears to be one thing American customers want to see improved at coffee stores. They might not step foot inside a Starbucks until they see these improvements. 

Starbucks Is Committed to Opening More Stores in China

With the number of American Starbucks customers decreasing, Starbucks has decided to focus its efforts on its Chinese customers. 

The outside of a Starbucks store in Shanghai, China. The Starbucks logo is toward the top of the building, and the sign “Starbucks Coffee” is in white and is directly above the doors.

Source: Declan Sun/Unsplash

So much so that they are committed to opening 9000 Starbucks stores in China by 2025. 

China Has More Coffee Drinkers Than the U.S.

In a rather surprising turn of events, China now has a higher number of coffee drinkers than the U.S. 

A takeaway Starbucks coffee cup on a wooden table. The cup has a white lid with the Starbucks logo in the middle against a black background with “Merry Coffee” written in white around it.

Source: Yuhaimedia/Unsplash

In 2023, the number of coffee shops in China rose by 58% to meet the demand of Chinese coffee drinkers. This included both Starbucks and other coffee shops. 


Starbucks Sales in China Were Down

What hasn’t helped Starbucks is that despite trying to make waves (or coffee, in this case) in China, their plan might not be working.

A Starbucks in Beijing, Shanghai. A barista is working behind the till, and a couple of people are sitting at tables, but the store is mostly empty.

Source: Colin Lee/Unsplash

Starbucks’ sales in China are also down, with bosses constantly trying to develop new methods to get these sales up. 


Starbucks’ Pork Flavored Coffee

To try to get more customers in China through their doors, Starbucks has come up with an entirely new coffee flavor: Pork. 

The Starbucks pork-flavored coffee. The coffee is in a black mug, and a slice of pork is on top.

Source: @FJ_PORK/X

The pork-flavored drink is known as the ‘Abundant Year Savory Latte’ and combines Dongpo braised pork flavored sauce with espresso and steamed milk, with extra pork sauce and pork breast meat as a garnish. 


Starbucks Engages With Social Media Users

To try and reach out to all its customers worldwide, including Americans, Starbucks uses social media to engage with users and encourage them to go to their stores.

The Starbucks Instagram page shows a post of a person holding a spicy pineapple lemonade refresher next to a body of water with trees on either side of it. The post from Starbucks says, “Golden hour, every hour. Spicy Pineapple Lemonade Refreshers. Gaby T.”

Source: @starbucks/Instagram

They encourage social media users to use the hashtag “#LoveStarbucks” and will share these to their social media channels. They also post enticing content of their own drinks and food items available at Starbucks to encourage social media users to go to their stores and buy something. 


Starbucks’ New Summer Menu

As summer approaches, Starbucks is planning on unleashing a new summer menu on May 7 in the hope of bringing in new and old customers.

Four drinks from the Starbucks summer menu. There are three refresher drinks with boba and a cold brew.

Source: @markie_devo/X

Starbucks’ summer menu includes berry refreshers, cold brews, a pineapple cloud cake and an orange cream cake pop. 


Starbucks New Menu Hasn’t Convinced Some Customers

Despite some people being excited by Starbucks’s new summer menu items, others aren’t quite as convinced. 

A post on X about the Starbucks summer menu. The post says, “Hey @Starbucks, the barista today told me the new Spicy Refreshers are limited edition. It’s not even May yet! They’re the perfect summer drink! They need to be added to the menu permanently. Stop this madness!”

Source: @senoritav76/X

Some fans on social media said that they would rather see other items, such as the spicy refreshers that are only limited edition, kept on the menu for the summer instead. 


Starbucks Will Not Lower Its Prices

One of the main reasons for the lack of footfall in Starbucks stores is due to its high prices. 

The inside of a Starbucks store. Two employees are working behind the counter. One is making coffee, and the other is taking customer orders.

Source: Asael Peña/Unsplash

However, despite this decrease in customers, Starbucks is still refusing to lower its prices to encourage more Americans to walk back into their nearest Starbucks and grab a cup of coffee.