Trends of the UK Coffee Shop Industry

Our latest updates on the coffee shop industry and what to expect from consumer demands to innovative ideas!

We’ll be taking a look into the reports of 2020 and highlighting what coffee shop trends will be in store for the market.

After an increasingly challenging year for worldwide businesses, coffee shops have stepped up to the mark and proven themselves to be adaptive and innovative.

2020 has been a demanding year which has constantly required the market to go back to the drawing board and rethink long-term, sustainable growth strategies paired with the latest market research.

Find out more about how to keep your coffee shop franchise in the UK up to date and ahead of the curb!

UK Coffee Market 2020

Here at Esquires Coffee, we have created an overview of various 2020 reports to help inform you, so that you have a better understanding of the incredible opportunities available.

This overview will help you harness these trends and prepare for the year ahead.

The Uncertainty of Brexit

For nearly two years, the industry has been partially dictated by Brexit, consistently cited by industry leaders on the consequences it will have on those working within the hospitality sector and dwindling consumer confidence.

With Brexit in place, we are faced with probable chances of the UK VAT removal, although we may actually still be charged VAT and Import Duty on arrival from the origin country.

A coffee plant

Sustainability & Ethics

Once we start to make our way through the pandemic, sustainability will start to play a much larger role. The pandemic has started to influence a lot of consumers to rethink their purchasing habits.

The public wants to know about the origins of where the coffee they are enjoying and how ethically, environmentally-friendly and socially conscious the process and involved parties are.

This ever-growing popular trend may pose a threat for some coffee companies. A vast number of growing regions have poor labour laws and inefficient law enforcement.

Allegra World Coffee Portal states that, from a survey conducted in 2020, nearly 75% of coffee consumers want their coffee shops to be much more transparent about where they source their coffee.


Premiumisation and speciality coffees are still apparent in the coffee shop market, with a filtered focus on where and how the beans are grown. This growing category is likely to be impacted by the threat of a recession, not to mention the lulls of low economic activity.

‘Third wave coffee’ is still making a statement as it trends throughout the industry. It’s only natural for it to carry on evolving from the first and second wave. More attention and respect are being granted to high-quality speciality roasts, hyper-specific beans, innovative brewing methods and food pairings.

The focus has been shifted to not just savouring the taste of the coffee, but also the process of the product at every step of the supply chain for it to live up to the refined expectation of truly being the best.

A barista behind a bar

Coffee Service COVID-19

Thanks to the salvation of takeaway coffee, many cafes were able to remain open during the various lockdowns. But with dwindling luxuries available during these deprived times, queues have become a common feature.

41% of consumers surveyed by Allegra indicated that they would be deterred by in-store queues. With the lockdown restrictions and the necessary rules and regulations to ensure the safety of employees and customers, minor service details can easily be deemed discouraging.

These social distance details within the service, such as queues, are ever more expected by consumers to become much more seamless. Particulars such as rapid transactions are placing further pressure on the speed of service and digitalisation.

Home Delivery and Cups of Coffee

The UK Lockdown has created a catalyst for demand in delivery. Crucial revenue opportunities have become apparent for those able to flexibly follow the new consumer demands during this crisis.

Delivery has been recognised as one of the top trading features implemented by coffee shops. This is thought to be only growing as it has become a key change in consumer behaviour.

This is supported by Allegra’s UK public impact survey that states that 43% of consumers indicated an increase in non-grocery related deliveries, in addition to a staggering 72% declaring their decreased supermarket trips during the pandemic.

It makes sense for coffee, such a sought-after service, to take to the streets too.

A tips jar

The Cost of a Cup of Coffee

Due to the impending recession and the loss of many jobs, schemes such as Eat Out to Help Out and the VAT cut, not to mention reusable cup schemes, help consumers justify and afford these coffee craved luxuries.

Three cups of coffee on a table

The Connectivity of Coffee

Throughout these uncertain times and that of the untold future regarding post-Covid, we can still rely on the coffee shop industry which is still a very much craved for commodity by the public during these deprived times.

Allegra data confirms an undeniable desire among the UK consumer market to return to coffee shops. This optimistic information will require thoughtful adaptations to keep up with the ever changing retail environment.

Coffee shops not only offer an affordable luxury but also a sense of normality throughout these trying times, and, if anything, will have a positive and uplifting impact on our consumers whilst going through the rules and regulations of lockdown.

To effectively keep up with the continuous changes of the coffee shop market and consumer demands, coffee shops will need to invest more time and money into technology, overall quality and use their professionalism.

The future for the UK coffee shop market remains hopeful. Esquires Coffee offers industry expertise, innovation and market experience throughout these trying times, with the added elements of a nationally recognised brand that prides itself on providing Fair-Trade and ethically sourced coffee.

Why not have a look at another one of our blog posts to find out whether franchising is right for you?

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About the author - Jack Anderson

Jack has been working in the franchise sector for over 12 years and is our in-house guru on all things business! Jack is also a keen hiker and can be found in some of the UK's best walking spots on the weekends.

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