The rapid growth of the UK branded coffee chain market of recent years is expected to slow only slightly in 2009 and will break through 5,000 outlets by 2012, according to new data published by Allegra Strategies. Its UK Coffee Shop Market report, published December 2008, claimed that the current economic downturn had only a limited effect on trading performance this year, with only 19% of consumers questioned saying they visited outlets less frequently.The market currently has an estimated 3,721 outlets. However, growth is expected to decelerate in 2009 to 7.7%, compared to 12.6% in 2008, when 417 new branded outlets opened. This year the UK branded coffee shop market achieved a £1.53bn turnover, and this figure is expected to rise to more than £2bn by 2012.Allegra’s research also revealed that the most important consumer trend currently affecting the industry was the growth of speciality coffee/coffee culture (13%), followed by convenience (10%). Latte remains the most purchased drink, followed by cappuccino, tea and hot chocolate. Starbucks came top of the coffee shop charts as the UK’s favourite coffee brand, followed by Costa Coffee and Caffè Nero, while Monmouth Coffee Company was the top independent shop.