According to a Zenith Intl. report, there has been a major shift in the types of machine used
The western Europe water cooler market, which scarcely existed 25 years ago, climbed to a record 2.78 million units installed at the end of 2012, according to a new report from the sector’s specialist consultancy, Zenith Intl.
Recent growth, however, has slowed to 1% a year and there has been a major shift in the type of machine used. The market is still dominated by bottled water coolers, with a 58% share, but their number has fallen in each of the last five years to 1.6 million. In contrast, mains water point-of-use (POU) coolers have gained share each year, rising by 6% in 2012 to 1.2 million.
The U.K. and Italy remain the largest markets, with a combined 41% share. Switzerland achieved the greatest increase for POU units in 2012. Spain saw an overall decline, with POU gains falling short of bottled water cooler losses.
“Water coolers are now an essential service for staff well being in many businesses, but growth has undoubtedly been hit by higher unemployment, higher taxes and lower government spending,” said Zenith consultant Iva Hatzold.
Surprisingly, Greece had the biggest increase for bottled water coolers last year. “Here, coolers appear to have offered a cost saving alternative to smaller retail bottle sizes,” Hatzold said.
Zenith forecasts continued overall growth, taking the total to 3.2 million in 2017. “Provided companies focus their efforts on innovative and sustainable products, customer service and the importance of hydration, there is still strong potential for the future,” Hatzold said. POU coolers are expected to reach 50% of the market by 2017.