New research has suggested that coffee shops could outnumber pubs for the first time in the UK by 2026, if current market trends continue.
The report from research consultancy firm Allegra has predicted that the two industries could pass at around the 35,000 mark by extrapolating data from the past 30 years. According to figures from the British Beer and Pub Association, the number of pubs in the UK has fallen by almost 20,000 since 1982.
The popularity of coffee shops continues to rise despite the UK being one of Europe’s least coffee-obsessed nations; statistics from the International Coffee Organisation suggest that Brits drink 2.5 times less coffee than both the Swedes and Germans. But the market is doing well: it made revenues of £6.2bn in 2014 and grew by 6.4% on the previous year. Costa, one of the sector’s biggest companies with close to half the overall share, is subsequently seeking to raise the number of its outlets by 400 to 2,200 over the next four years.
This is partly a result of the two industries’ contrasting fortunes during the recession years. 4,500 pubs closed between 2009 and 2013 with the industry enduring its sharpest decline for several decades, while a rise in the number of coffee shops suggests that they were largely unaffected. Rising beer prices and the increasing popularity of pub chains and supermarket alcohol have all helped to contribute to the strain.
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