Sales for the coffee shop sector grew last year by 9.3% and saw outlet growth of nearly 5.9% thanks to outlets regularly "refreshing" their offer, a new report into the industry has shown.
Major factors in this success include coffee shops' ability to "refresh" their image, the continued social meeting "hub" element of coffee shops, Britons' regular and predictable coffee-drinking habits, and increase competition from other high-street food and drink outlets such as pubs, fast-food chains and supermarkets.
The sector has also been helped by the increased prevalence of "artisan" coffee and its attendant "cool" image, says the report, with corporate-backed shops such as Tesco's Harris + Hoole proving that competition is still thriving.
Notwithstanding, the big players - Costa Coffee, Starbucks and Caffe Nero â' take up 54% of the branded chain outlet market share, with Costa adding a total of 118 stores in the year 2013.
Increased "consumer participation", coffee quality and 24-hour availability are likely to be the elements to focus on in 2014 onwards, with the report predicting that the coffee shop sector will be worth £8.7b by 2018 across 20,500 outlets (with £4.1b of that focused on the predicted 7,000 branded shops).
Jeffrey Young, Allegra Strategies' managing director, 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.
"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. "
"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."
This is not the first report this week to predict good things for coffee: a Horizons study also showed that coffee shops could look forward to a like-for-like boost by Spring this year as consumers' finances recover from Christmas and coffee-drinkers look to "treat themselves".