UK views on the high-street coffee market

"One of the reasons for the love for independent coffee shops was that individuals like to help support their community, which is amazing to hear!"
Alice Sunday
Senior Video Producer - Vox Pops Pool

Recently we used our Vox Pops Pool to explore how consumers feel about high-street coffee shops. The Vox Pops Pool is a monthly syndicated video shoot where we get opinions from the British public through intercept street interviews. Clients include 2 questions, and we get to ask what we are interested in as well! On this shoot, we decided to look at coffee shops – an integral part of the high street! 


We started by asking UK consumers in Manchester all about their coffee shop habits. It was amazing to see how much love we, the British public,  have for independent cafes, when there is so much competition from the big names! It was also really interesting to see how much opinions of the taste of one coffee shop to the next differ, and even how different drinks within the same shop can create polarising opinions for example one participant noted how she doesn’t like the coffee in Pret A Manger but loves their Matcha Latte! A fascinating insight into the kind of competition and choice which is available for everyone, allowing us to easily choose different shops depending on an individual drink. 


One of the reasons for the love for independent coffee shops was that individuals like to help support their community, which is amazing to hear! Many also think that smaller run operations can often offer a better experience. 


Our second line of questioning delved further into consumers’ buying habits in coffee shops, in particular looking at if they buy food there.  The convenience of getting food which is ‘quick and easy’, was a strong reason for purchase for those who ‘don’t have time to cook’. 


However, it was also clear that many individuals go to a coffee shop for the very simple reason of just wanting a coffee! An extra sandwich or snack can often be seen as a luxury and not necessary when many enter for just a drink. “We are going for the coffee, rather than going for food”. With the huge availability of eateries throughout the UK, it’s no wonder that the experience of a coffee shop is viewed as a place for just a drink. While some look to support their locals by buying an extra bit of food, it seems that on the whole, cafes face a battle to try and be perceived as something more than a place for a drink.


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