Tea Consumption & Industry Statistics in 2021
It’s almost unfair how much tea dominates the market in terms of popularity, revenue, growth, and emerging new specialty categories. But given it’s been around since 2700BC, it’s not surprising how much tea’s popularity has spread around the globe, and how much it has become part of people’s daily lives and spending.
We dove deep to find the most interesting and surprising statistics about tea, regarding who drinks it, who produces it, popularity and exports by country, as well as company-specific stats and emerging trends.
Tea consumption statistics & popularity
Tea is one of the oldest beverages in the world, discovered around 2700BC.
There are over 1000 varieties of tea, most commonly classified as white, green, oolong, and black.
In the US, ready-to-drink tea accounted for 76.2% of total revenue share, with the remainder attributed to RTD coffee.
Asia Pacific is the dominant region for ready-to-drink tea and coffee in 2016, with 41% revenue share, being driven mainly by Japan and China.
In the UK in 2017, 68% of people drink tea per day, with 37% drinking two to three cups, and 21% drinking between four to five cups.
China accounts for an impressive 40% of global tea revenue in 2019, totaling US$86,377m.
Each day, over 159 million Americans drink tea.
The US consumed over 3.8 billion gallons of tea in 2018.
Tea consumption per capita in the UK is 1.3 kg for 2019.
In 2019, tea revenue globally is about US$214,761m and is expected to grow each year by 6.9% until 2023.
Tea is the second most popular drink in the world, with water at first place.
Tea spending statistics
In the US, Lipton Pure Leaf was the top selling ready-to-drink tea in 2019 with 718 million dollars in revenue.
Tieguanyin, an oolong tea variety grown in Fujian Province, China, rings in around 180,000 RMB for 500 grams, approximately $51 USD per gram.
Britain has tried to cultivate China’s prized Da Hong Pao tea on its own land but it just doesn’t come out right.
Monkey Chief Tea, grown in Huangshan City in China earned the title of “King of Green Tea” at the International Tea Expo in 2004. In 2009 its price reached about $284 USD per gram.
One of the most expensive teas rings in at $200 per cup, which comes from Ya’An in Sichuan, China and is fertilized with panda manure.
A tea made of Sri Lankan tea tips, called Golden Tips rings in at $200 per gram, approximately 4x the cost of gold.
A British person consumes on average 265 liters of tea per year, spending approximately £12,500, or US$16,500 in their lifetime.
In 2002, a buyer paid $28k for 20g of Chinese Da Hong Pao tea, which comes to $1400 per gram.
Ready-to-drink teas generated more than $1.36 billion in the US during the 52 weeks leading up to May 20th 2018.
The top three selling ready-to-drink tea brands in the United States for 2019:
Top selling loose-leaf and bagged teas:
Tea production statistics
In 2015, about 5.2 million metric tons of tea was produced globally.
US ready to drink tea production hit $6.2bn in 2019.
South Carolina was the only US state to ever product tea commercially, which arrived in Charleston in the late 1700s.
Pakistan imported the most tea in 2017—$549.62 million USD, with the Russian Federation in 2nd.
In 2015, China produced half of the world’s tea supply.
The highest tea production by country is China, India, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Vietnam.
World tea exports hit 1.77 million tons in 2013, which is a 5% increase over 2012.
World black tea production is expected to grow by 2.9% annually to hit 4.17 million tons by 2023.
World green tea production is expected to grow 8.2% annually to hit 2.97 million tons by 2023.
Ready to drink tea in the US has grown 2.3% annually between 2014 and 2019.
World tea production increased 6% to 5.07 million tons in 2013.
The largest tea exporter by volume in 2013 is Kenya, at 415.9 thousand tons.
Health benefits of drinking tea
The greatest health benefits are said to come from tea with less oxidation.
Antioxidants in tea may help protect against a wide variety of cancers.
Drinking tea is linked with lower risk of Parkinson’s.
To benefit our health from tea, have it without sugar. Sugar likely offsets any potential benefit.
A study found drinking black tea for 3 months significantly lowers LDL levels in subjects with borderline hypercholesterolemia.
One study found 12 weeks of drinking black tea reduced triglyceride values by 36% and blood sugar levels by 17%.
Despite containing caffeine, tea is rehydrating.