SEOUL — South Korea is home to the fourth-largest number of Starbucks stores globally, as of 2023, showcasing the strong demand among local consumers for the Seattle-based coffee giant. Data released on Monday revealed that South Korea hosted 1,893 Starbucks outlets last year, marking an increase of 116 stores from the previous year. This number positions South Korea just slightly behind Japan, which had 1,901 stores despite having a population twice that of South Korea's, according to data compiled by Starbucks.
According to Yonhap News Agency, The first Starbucks in South Korea opened in Seoul in 1999 through a partnership with Shinsegae Group, a prominent Korean retail conglomerate. Financial reports indicate that SCK Co., the entity managing Starbucks under Shinsegae, reported sales of 758.6 billion won (approximately US$560 million) in the third quarter of 2023, with an operating profit of 49.8 billion won. Starbucks employs an estimated 23,000 staff members across South Korea.
Despite Starbucks' significant presence, the data also highlights that local coffee shop chains maintain a stronger foothold in the market. Ediya Coffee led with over 3,000 stores as of 2023, followed by Mega Coffee with 2,785 stores, underscoring the competitive coffee market landscape in South Korea.