Three quarters of European branded coffee shop markets grew over the last 12 months

  • Project Café Europe 2023 shows the total European branded coffee shop market grew 3.3% over the last 12 months to reach 42,804 outlets 

  • 31 out of the largest 40 European markets by outlets expanded by outlets over the past 12 months 

  • Europe’s 20 largest branded coffee chains continue to dominate the market, accounting for 48% of all stores 

  • 48% of European industry leaders surveyed believe trading conditions will improve over the next 12 months, down from 60% 12 months ago 

76% of European operators surveyed reported increased sales over the last 12 months | Photo credit: McDonald's Austria


Project Café Europe 2023, World Coffee Portal’s comprehensive analysis of the European branded coffee shop market, reveals the total segment grew 3.3% over the last 12 months to reach 42,804 outlets, with 76% of operators surveyed reporting sales growth.  

With virtually all Covid-19 trading restrictions lifted, European industry leaders surveyed broadly discuss the market in post-pandemic terms and are now focused on navigating high inflation, the rising cost of living and economic fallout from the war in Ukraine.

Majority of European branded coffee shop markets achieve outlet growth 

Thirty-one out of Europe’s 40 largest branded coffee shop markets added outlets over the last 12 months. The UK remains Europe’s largest market, growing 4.4% to reach 9,885 outlets, ahead of Germany, which experienced a 1.3% contraction to 6,798 stores, and Russia, which grew 2.2% to reach 4,479 outlets.  

Collectively, the UK, Germany and Russia contain 49% of all European branded coffee shop outlets. 

Romania is the fastest growing market in Europe by outlets, expanding 29% over the last 12 months, with domestic brand 5 to go the fastest growing coffee chain, with 181 net new stores. However, prominent Scandinavian markets, Sweden, Norway, and Finland, contracted by 1.7%, 0.8% and 1.6% respectively.  

Major branded coffee chains still dominate Europe, with the 20 largest operators holding a 48% share of the total market and 62% of total outlets belonging to multi-national operators. 


UK-based Costa Coffee remains Europe’s largest coffee chain with 3,122 outlets across 18 markets, opening its first stores in Georgia and Austria in 2022 – but exiting Russia and Slovakia. Starbucks opened 89 net new outlets over the last 12 months to become the region’s second largest operator with 3,075 stores, overtaking McCafé, which closed net 90 stores and now operates 2,923 outlets.  

Alongside outlet growth, 76% of European operators surveyed reported increased sales over the last 12 months, with half achieving a sales uplift of over 5%. 


War in Ukraine and cost of living crisis create difficult trading conditions following the pandemic 


Following the profound disruption of the pandemic, European operators now face new headwinds, including high inflation, supply chain disruption and soaring energy costs exacerbated by the war in Ukraine.  

Two-thirds of industry leaders surveyed by World Coffee Portal agree the rising cost of living has negatively impacted their business, with just 13% disagreeing. 

Additionally, price consciousness and economic uncertainty were cited as the most important consumer trends facing Europe’s branded coffee shop markets. 

Prior to Russia’s invasion, Ukraine had been the fastest growing branded coffee shop market in Europe. However, a remarkable number of Ukrainian branded coffee shops continue to trade, with the market contracting by net 24 stores over the last 12 months to stand at 257 outlets.  

The Russian branded coffee shop market grew 2.2% over the last 12 months, despite the exit of 12 prominent coffee chains, including McCafé, Starbucks and Costa Coffee which closed 154, 130 and 26 stores respectively. However, domestic operators acquired the assets of the former two chains, launching the loosely branded Vkusno i Tochka and Stars Coffee. 


Consumer surveys reveal Irish, Italian and Scandinavian coffee shop insights  


World Coffee Portal surveyed over 6,000 coffee consumers across the Irish, Italian and Scandinavian branded coffee shop markets. In Italy, where there is a strong independent café culture, consumers were the most likely to drink hot coffee every day and favour engaging baristas in conversation.  


Reflecting the Scandinavian concepts of hygge and fika, consumers across Denmark, Norway and Sweden predominantly order coffee after midday (72%) in contrast to those surveyed in Italy, where 72% of consumers surveyed order in the morning, and Ireland, where orders are split 50% before midday and 50% after. 


European branded coffee shop market expected to grow despite economic uncertainty 

Although 58% of industry leaders surveyed believe the current trading environment for coffee shops in their country is positive, sustained macro-economic pressures are beginning to take their toll. 

Less than half of industry leaders surveyed expect trading conditions to improve over the next year, 12% fewer than in 2022. A further 17% expect trading to deteriorate. 

World Coffee Portal forecasts the European branded coffee shop market will exceed 44,100 outlets by March 2024 and 49,600 outlets by March 2028, representing five-year growth of 3.0% CAGR. The coffee-focused segment is expected to lead growth and exceed 29,900 outlets, at 3.5% CAGR. 

Commenting on the report findings, Allegra Group Founder and CEO, Jeffrey Young said:  

“European coffee shop operators are facing a convergence of economic headwinds, including high inflation, energy, labour costs, instability generated by the war in Ukraine and the risk of a wider global downturn.

“Nevertheless, with most European branded coffee shop markets achieving outlet growth over the last 12 months, there is clearly strong demand for coffee shops across the continent, with consumers reluctant to give up their daily coffee ritual despite a tougher economic outlook.

“We expect most European branded coffee shop markets to weather the current instability and maintain steady growth in the years ahead.” 

Project Café Europe 2023 is available for immediate purchase. 

Download the report brochure here or contact Ruth Thompson for more information. 

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