The figures from the company's Project Café13 UK report show that after 15 years of consistent growth the coffee shop sector remains strong in the UK with an estimated 16,501 outlets in operation overall.
The total UK coffee shop market, which includes artisan independents as well as large brands such as Costa Coffee, Starbucks and Caffè Nero, grew sales by 6.4 per cent last year and turned over £6.2bn which it said proved that the UK is now a 'nation of great coffee drinkers'.
Allegra Strategies' managing director, Jeffrey Young said: “The UK coffee shop industry is showing consistent strong growth in both sales and outlets. Britain is now a nation of great coffee drinkers.
"The UK consumer increasingly appreciates a quality cup of coffee and operators must continue to deliver innovation, fantastic quality while genuinely engaging with customers in order to stay ahead of the curve.”
The report found that one in five coffee shop visitors go to coffee shops every day compared with one in nine in 2009, drinking an estimated 1.7 billion cups of coffee out of home per year.
Young said a greater focus on coffee among non-specialist operators such as pubs and fast food restaurants was helping to strengthen its appeal while also introduce wider competition for the sector.
He said the growth in the number of artisan coffee outlets as well as the premiumisation of the at-home segment and the expansion of the premium vending segments were also signalling a new era of competition, meaning the market would need to evolve to keep up with consumer taste and knowledge.
“UK Consumers will become even more knowledgeable on the subtleties of coffee preparation and delivery from bean to cup, in particular origin, roast, as well as the importance of milk foaming and water quality," he said. "We expect to see growing consumer interest evolving beyond simple commoditisation of coffee as a drink, with artisan cafés and branded chains increasingly educating them about the craft of coffee.”
The total coffee shop market is predicted to exceed 20,500 outlets and turn over £8.7bn by 2018, with 4.5 per cent annual outlet growth over the five-year period.