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Perceptual Mapping of Beverages: Coffee and Tea

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,
personal experiences and other channels.
A. Ayaz, Karthikeyan B., Vignesh S., S. Teotia, S. P. Singh
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
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
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.
Perceptual Mapping of Beverages: Coffee and Tea
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.
A. Ayaz, Karthikeyan B., Vignesh S., S. Teotia, S. P. Singh
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

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

Perceptual Mapping of Beverages: Coffee and Tea

Comparision of actual and perceived - Coffee
Sweetness Aroma
S.no 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

A. Ayaz, Karthikeyan B., Vignesh S., S. Teotia, S. P. Singh
Comparision of actual and perceived - Tea
Sweetness Aroma
S.no 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

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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