India is the largest tea exporter

Analysis of the global and Chinese tea markets

Today, there are about 50 countries and regions of tea producers and more than 160 countries and regions of tea consumers. The number of people on Earth who consume tea is 3 billion people. Total global consumption of finished tea per capita amounts to 35.2 liters per year.

Dynamics of world tea production in 2001-2015 thousand tons.

Dynamics of global tea production in 2001-2015 thousand tons by Liberty Marketing according to FAO, International Tea Committee

In 2015, the world produced more than 5 million kilograms of tea, of which 38% was exported to various countries. The average growth rate of tea production from 2001 to 2015 was 4%.

Dynamics of tea production in the leading producing countries, thousand tons

Dynamics of tea production in leading producing countries, thousand tons by Liberty Marketing according to the International Tea Committee

Currently, China, India, Kenya and Sri Lanka are the largest tea producing and exporting countries. China and India mostly consume tea domestically, while tea consumption in Kenya and Sri Lanka is limited, as most of it goes for export. Together, these four countries account for more than 75% of world production and 60% of world exports. Also the share of other countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia is growing.

The structure of the world tea market in 2006 and 2015

In the structure of the global market for tea in the last 10 years there were some changes. Thus, the share of China has increased by 15,1%. At the same time the share of India fell from 26.8% to 22.9%. Kenya and Sri Lanka produced almost equal amounts of tea in 2006, but 10 years later Kenya was able to pull ahead and is now the third largest producer of tea in the world.

The main tea exporting countries are Kenya (21%), China (16%), Sri Lanka (15%) and India (12%). In total, the top 9 exporting countries account for about 82% of world exports

The structure of tea exports in the world market in 2015, %

In the structure of tea imports, the leading positions belong to Russia (16%), Pakistan (15%) and the United Kingdom (12%). It is noteworthy that Kenya, being the leading tea exporter, is the 6th largest tea importer in the world. In what follows, let’s take a brief look at the tea market of the world’s largest producer.

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Structure of tea imports in the world market in 2015, %.

China’s Tea Market

China is not only the largest producer but also the largest consumer of tea in the world. The average growth rate of tea production in China from 2006 to 2015 was 9%. The total area of tea plantations is also increasing. It is worth noting that due to increased production, the value of tea in China increased by 12.04% in 2016 compared to 2015.

Structure of tea production in China in 2015, %.

In addition, influenced by market demand, the structure of tea production in China has been constantly changing in recent years. Although green tea maintains absolute leadership in the production structure, its share in total production has been declining. As of 2015, green tea accounted for 63.13% of total production. At the same time, the production of black, dark and white tea, as well as oolong tea, is growing rapidly.

Dynamics of tea consumption in China, 10 thousand tons.

The dynamics of tea consumption is positive. In general, the volume of tea consumption has almost doubled in 7 years. One of the reasons for the growth is the increase in the number of tea consumers. Thus, in urban areas since 2011, the number of such people has increased by 6.3%. At the same time, tea consumption in rural areas is relatively stable. The structure of tea consumption is similar to the structure of its production. A distinctive feature of the tea market in China is that the population traditionally consumes freshly brewed tea and less often uses tea bags.

According to experts, a number of factors such as the growth of the population in the world, the increasing trend of urbanization in developing countries, increasing money income and competition in the food market will have a negative impact on the tea market. In 2021 the annual consumption of tea in the world may grow up to 37,7 liters per capita annually.

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