Point-of-use segment jumps 21%
The Eastern European water cooler market advanced by 5.2% in 2012 to 1.7 million units at the end of the year, according to the latest report by Zenith Intl. The point-of-use (POU) segment, which scarcely existed in the region a few years ago, is now climbing rapidly and has reached 50,000 units — a jump of 21%.
Bottled water coolers continue to dominate with 66% of the market, but their share has dropped in recent years. Nevertheless, the segment experienced its strongest growth since 2008, rising by 3.5% to 1.1 million units. Dispensers and pumps remain a significant part of the cooler industry in Eastern Europe, representing more than 30% of the market. Their share was boosted by a strong performance in Russia and the Ukraine.
Russia and Poland are by far the biggest markets in the region, with a combined 65% share. Romania and Poland represent more than 70% of the POU segment. Croatia, Estonia and Latvia achieved the greatest POU growth in 2012, while Serbia increased its bottled cooler base the most.
Although POU is still a niche market in Eastern Europe, its spread is expected to expand substantially over the next five years. “Provided companies focus on promoting long-term cost savings, environmental credentials and convenience, point of use has real potential for strong growth in the region,” said Zenith Consultant Iva Hatzold.
Zenith forecasts continued overall growth, taking the total to 2.2 million units in 2017. “In general, east European countries have been recovering from the financial crisis in the past year, greatly assisting the cooler industry’s improving performance,” Hatzold said. The market is predicted to advance by an annual average of 5.5% a year.