Convenience stores’ focus on on-the-go food and drink and, in particular, a high quality coffee offer, has been vindicated in a report on the branded coffee shop market.

Gourmet coffee vending units now outnumber the branded coffee chain market, Allegra World Coffee Portal’s annual study, Project Café 2017 UK, has found.

The UK has 8,200 such machines, the research points out, compared with an estimated 6,940 branded coffee chain outlets – meeting the growing consumer demand for speciality coffee “anywhere and anytime”.

Branded coffee shop chains added 445 new stores this year and the total UK coffee shop market increased by 6% in outlet numbers and 12% in turnover to reach £8.9bn this year. Branded chains accounted for £3.7bn of the total.

The research identifies a new wave combining tradition, chains, artisan and science – “where high quality boutique chains will be a major feature of the market going forward”.

Coffee shop visitors bought an estimated 3.2 billion cups of coffee this year and artisan coffee has driven the desire for premium quality coffee, the research identifies.

Jeffrey Young, chief executive of Allegra Group, said: There has been a powerful change in industry dynamics over the last year. As boutique chains continue to expand and drive sales of premium quality coffee, we observe a shift in the competitive market set.”

Allegra predicts the total UK coffee shop market will exceed 32,000 outlets and a turnover of £16bn by 2025, with an annual outlet growth of 6%.

As coffee shops are increasingly viewed as the local of choice by British consumers, coffee shops are set to outnumber pubs in the UK by 2030.

“We are entering an exciting, yet challenging era for the UK coffee industry within a global context – one that will ultimately see the leading brands compete on excellence in an environment where winning is everything,” said Young.