Independent coffee shops to hit 8,000 sites by 2024

Independent coffee shops to hit 8,000 sites by 2024

Independent coffee shops serve over 10.5m cups of coffee each week and will hit over 8,000 outlets by 2024, a new report has revealed.

The Allegra World Coffee Portal report The Rise of Independents UK 2019 has said there are currently 7,022 independent cafés operating in the UK, with an estimated value of £2.4bn. 

It records 4% annual outlet growth for UK independents over the last 12 months, representing an estimated 260 plus net new sites. Allegra forecasts the segment will exceed 8,000 outlets by 2024, growing at 3% CAGR.

Rising labour costs and property costs were perceived as the greatest challenges facing independent coffee shops in the UK, ahead of business rates, and increasing competition, the report said.

Four-fifths (80%) of independent coffee shop leaders surveyed by Allegra in March 2019 reported positive sales performance in the last 12 months, with the majority citing coffee and service quality as key success factors.

Three-quarters of industry leaders said they believed there was still plenty of growth potential for independent coffee shops in the UK.

Allegra research also showed that more than 70% of independent café consumers surveyed purchase coffee to drink in-store compared to 56% of branded chain customers. A further 21% of consumers said they chose an independent coffee shop based on service quality, compared to 16% at branded chains. 

Allegra said that longer dwell-times also presented an opportunity for menu diversification, such as single origin coffees, non-dairy milk and vegan options, which were more likely to appeal to consumers under-30s.

Allegra ceo and founder Jeffrey Young said: “There’s no doubt independent coffee shops face an uphill struggle compared to scaled competitors, particularly in today’s highly challenging retail environment. But those independent cafés defined by razor-sharp menu quality and seamless, highly personalised hospitality face a very bright future indeed.”



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