Roxana Dumitru, Coffee Marketing Manager for Romania & Hungary at De’Longhi, sat down with Business Review and highlighted the latest trends among Romania’s coffee consumers and explained how the coffee machine segment has evolved during the pandemic.
By Anda Sebesi
Coffee machines have been very popular throughout the pandemic. How have your products in this segment performed in terms of sales?
These past two years have indeed been very good for the coffee machine segment, and especially for the espresso machines that we sell. During the pandemic, people wanted to replicate some of their habits at home, and drinking good coffee or sophisticated coffee-based beverages was one of those habits. Since they could no longer go out, they made sure they had the means to become baristas at home. We saw sales of espresso machines go up quickly, hitting record highs month after month. We also noticed an overall upsale trend, with many customers deciding not only to buy an espresso machine, but to buy the best espresso machine they could afford. Our high-end segment recorded the most significant growth in both 2020 and 2021.
By getting espresso machines for their homes, people in major cities in the country are gradually moving away from Turkish or drip coffee and starting to appreciate the aroma of the espresso and its contribution to a variety of coffee-based beverages – from cappuccinos and flat whites to lattes. We have products which are able to cover all taste preferences and requirements, with our high-end fully automatic machines such as Maestosa, PrimaDonna Elite or PrimaDonna Soul storing dozens of recipes and being controlled remotely thorugh an app.
What types of coffee machines have Romanians been looking for lately?
Over the past two years, consumers have gradually moved away from price being the only major criterion. We continue to sell our entry level manual products, but that is more based on the fact that some people like to be in direct control of their espresso preparation. However, the highest growth was recorded in the full auto segment, with most consumers treasuring the comfort and convenience of a great morning or afternoon coffee they can make at the touch of a button.
You carried out a major campaign this fall, featuring Brad Pitt. How has it influenced your company’s performance?
The campaign started in September, so we would need to look at the year-end figures to assess its overall impact, but so far all the awareness-related KPIs are excellent and the sales of full auto coffee machines have seen a solid growth, De’Longhi having outperformed the market by more than 51 percent in value this fall. This has been the first global campaign featuring a brand ambassador and it has placed the brand under the spotlight like never before.
De’Longhi has a coffee machine production facility in Romania—which models are manufactured there and how many of them are sold on the Romanian market?
We manufacture several full auto products in Romania, including the Magnifica range, which is among our best selling machines both in Europe and locally. To us it is a great source of pride to see that our customers are praising Romania-made products for their quality and reliability, proving that we are indeed capable of manufacturing excellence in this country. About 98 percent of the machines produced in Romania are sold abroad, with the remainder of 2 percent sold here on the local market. We have to bear in mind that our Jucu production facility is not only one of the best, but also one of the largest units of the De’Longhi Group.
What are Romanians’ main coffee preferences?
The step from the kettle to the drip coffee machine was the most important development, and the one that took the longest. Now, under the influence of coffee shops and the new urban coffee culture, younger generations are quickly moving from Turkish and instant coffee to espresso and espresso-based beverages. Cappuccinos and lattes rank high among Romanians’ preferences, after the espresso or the ristretto.