Fortunately, consumers can't make lattes online, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz told CNBC on Friday.
If they could, then Starbucks would be among the traditional companies that may get swept away by what Schultz described as an online "sea change" encroaching upon brick-and-mortar retailers, most evident from a lackluster holiday gift-giving season.
Reporting first-quarter earnings after the bell on Thursday, Starbucks said increased online shopping kept more U.S. consumers at home than usual during the holiday season, which meant less visits to coffee shops in malls and near retail outlets.
In an interview with CNBC, Schultz said he believes December represents an "inflection point" in the growing use of online shopping services and mobile payments.
"We are navigating through what I believe to be a significant sea change," Schultz said on "Squawk on the Street." "We're going to be talking about this for quite some time. I would not want to be a traditional brick-and-mortar retailer that did not have mobile payments, that did not have social and digital media. Those companies are going to find themselves significantly challenged in 2014 and beyond."
(Read more: A 'tsunami' of store closings seen hitting retail)