Waking Up Britain: What’s The UK’s Favourite Coffee Chain?

Ed Angeli

When the 7am alarm goes, there’s one thing that’s on your mind: ‘where’s my cup of coffee?’. The morning struggle is always helped by the warm sensation of guzzling a frothy cappuccino down your throat as you set out to attack the day ahead.

We’ve all got our preferences: ‘Milk and two sugars, please’. ‘Black and no sugar, please’ – followed by the usual non-sugar takers’ ‘hilarious’ one-liner that never seems to get old: ‘I’m sweet enough as it is’. Whichever your preference, it works for you, and that’s all that matters.

However, with consumer spending reducing after the small matter of Brexit and general economic uncertainty causing the British public to keep their pennies in their pockets, it would suggest there could be fewer coffees to go and more: ‘let’s stick the kettle on for a budget instant coffee; I can’t afford a £2.50 takeaway.’

But coffee appears to be a necessary good as its demand continues to grow; so much so that it’s predicted there will be more coffee shops than pubs in the UK by 2030. Such demand for coffee is evident by the value of the coffee market rising 37% since 2011 – the coffee shop market was worth £2.4billion in 2011, and rose to £3.4billion by 2016; are we working harder or is coffee tasting better?

Of the big players in the coffee industry it looks as if, for the moment, Costa coffee has top spot amongst the British public; with the company having over double the amount of Starbucks’ in the UK, Costa is way ahead in terms of having the most amount of shops in the UK.

Costa reportedly sold 169million cups last year which saw it continue to take up the majority share of the coffee trade. Of the leading coffee chains in the UK – Costa, Starbucks and Caffè Nero – they have a total of a 53% share of the coffee market, and look set to thrive as the coffee industry continues to boom.

Despite the dominance, there could be a shift towards the private shops gaining more of the market share. Costa has dominated business in recent years, but experienced sales of just +0.1% in the three months to August – compared to +1.1% in the quarter beforehand – and down from 7% three years ago.

Although the demand for coffee and spending on the drink remains high, the influence leading shops have in the markets could decline as the British public become more specific with the type of coffee they’re consuming.

It’s safe to say, Britain loves coffee, and if you’re thinking of trying your hand as a barista, now could be your time to get your coffee beans on order for Christmas.