Luckin has officially opened its store in Singapore on 31 March 2023, in Ngee Ann City on Orchard Road and Marina Square. We have also written about our thoughts on Luckin’s prospect in Singapore when the opening was first announced.
We visited Luckin’s Marina Square outlet on 1st Apr to give it a try.
- Ordering: We ordered beforehand using Luckin’s app at 4:38pm, the estimated pick-up time was 5:58pm and we got our orders before the estimated time, around 5:15pm.
The app currently supports credit cards, GrabPay and Paynow. You will receive a notification once the order is ready.
The ordering system in Singapore is similar to that in China
2. Promotion and referral: We used the first-order promotion of SGD 0.99 per drink voucher.
There is also a referral program – if someone downloads the app using a referral link and places an order, the referrer will receive a voucher for SGD 0.99 per cup.
Those familiar with Luckin in China will know this is a common tactic they used in China i.e.: “¥9.9 for all orders”, which has garnered them massive traction in the early stage.
Luckin’s promotional and referral program “$0.99 per cup” (SG) vs “¥9.9 per cup” (CN)
3. Product & supply chain: We ordered Luckin’s signature Coconut Latte – which tastes very similar to the one in China. Their staff said that the coffee beans come from the same supply chain in China (Arabica beans).
In fact, most products are similar to that in China: As Luckin’s Singapore menu is in English, Luckin’s staff have received many requests from Chinese consumers asking for the corresponding English name of “厚乳拿铁” （creamy dreamy latte) – Luckin’s official account on Xiaohongshu has to lay out an English and Chinese guide:
4. Pricing: In China, Luckin prices its signature coconut latte at $4.2, which is lower than Starbucks’ price of $4.8 for an ‘enhanced latte’ – vanilla latte. In Singapore, Luckin’s pricing before discount is similar to Starbucks’ price.
Luckin’s price in SG & CN, benchmarked against Starbucks’
Luckin Coffee sold more than 2000 cups on its opening day
Judging from the queue number on receipts, we can see that the number of orders is over 1800 around 5pm (there is a “970” placed around 1pm which was not collected).
As mentioned in our Bubble Tea in Southeast Asia report, the underlying fundamentals of F&B chains are similar: (i) build (decent) flagship products to get initial traction (ii) achieve single-store profitability (iii) scale the model while maintaining the positive unit economics.
Luckin has managed to do (i) building decent flagship products i.e.: as a coffee chain, “it should not taste bad. It needs to look and taste like coffee”.
For one, Luckin has garnered a large following amongst the younger Chinese population. You can see many of the comments on Xiaohongshu asking Luckin to open stores in universities like NUS and NTU.
In terms of products, there are also ample opportunities for Luckin to explore, catering to local taste buds. There have been various attempts at locally-inspired flavours by other coffee/new tea brands in Southeast Asia in the past:
Will Luckin dominate the market?
There are vast options for decent coffee or “new tea” drinks in Singapore – Luckin will not dominate the market (and they don’t have to).
With the right positioning and right product/operational focus, Luckin can stir some ripples in the market, especially in the midle-high segment alongside other major players (e.g.: Starbucks, Arabica, Coffee Bean, Joe & Dough, Huggs).
Challenge, as usual, lies in execution: the ability to balance growth (i.e.: more store opening) with supply chain and operational efficiency.
Anyway, it is a win for consumers – who wouldn’t love the vast choices and selection of tea-time drinks?