A client successfully launched its coffee-based drink in China in 2016. Sales were initially higher than expected and have started to slow in momentum. The client needs to gauge success and continue to grow the brand and adapt the drink to meet the Millennials’ evolving tastes.


By applying TSI’s Market-Monitor process, we partnered with the client to get input from drink consumers to identify product likes/dislikes, current and expected purchases, and to identify weaknesses in the brand’s delivery on promise and potential growth barriers.

Once we pinpointed the primary factors (taste experience, texture, packaging), we validated them through quantitative methods, including via a WeChat panel.

As insurance of greater success and to take a more holistic approach, we investigated how our client introduced the new drink within a competitive context and what were the impacts.

We dug into such factors as competitive brand positioning, pricing, and store and online shelving/layouts. Then we took a gauge of sales trends at the retailers with which the client had distribution agreements to ensure that sales were on target with what had been estimated prior to launch (also speaking to some aisle managers in-store to determine brand performance). The team then went on to determine how the client’s competitors had been reacting, looking at tactics utilized during the launch across the competitor offer.


In collaboration with TSI’s client, we identified additional, consumer-driven product benefits, features for enhancement, and market messaging to better entice Chinese Millennials to this innovative coffee-based drink. The client has built a successful niche for itself amid its adjacent-category brand competitors.

We will monitor the market for this client on an annual basis to ensure long-term growth within the current and potential consumer segments.