Water Cooler

The Water Cooler Market In The UK Continues To Grow

New market research shows that the value of the UK water cooler market has broken through the £130 million barrier, reaching £133 million in 2017. Revenue increased by 3.5%, compared with 2016, when the market’s value stood at £129 million.

The 5th successive year of stable and steady Water Cooler growth

In a report by global food and drink experts Zenith Global, 2017 was said to be the 5th successive year of stable and steady growth. The total number of water cooler units grew by 1.8%  to 663,000  across the United  Kingdom. This is the highest percentage increase since the 2007 financial crisis.

Water Cooler“The sector continues to see gains in volume and value for both mains-fed – point of use –  and bottled water coolers, which is a positive and pleasing trend”, said Zenith Principal Consultant Karen Wells, (main picture).

The market split between the two types of coolers has remained relatively stable since 2012. In 2017, mains-fed, plumbed in point of use units performed marginally better in terms of revenue growth, but still held a much smaller share of sales at 21%. Bottled water coolers accounted for a far larger portion, amounting to 79% of  revenue.

By number of units, point of use represented a stable 47%, with bottled water units just ahead at  53% . At the end of 2017, the United Kingdom had 349,000 bottled water and 314,000 point of use coolers installed.

Each cooler now delivers an average of 900 litres

The volume of bottled water sold for water coolers increased by 2% to 313 million litres in the year. Both the number of units and volume throughput increased, with each cooler now delivering an average of 900 litres, up 1% on 2016. In 2012, throughput per cooler was 786 litres. “This 14.5% increase over 5 years  shows that ‘healthy hydration convenience’ is very much at the forefront of water cooler users’ thinking’, Karen said, adding “another influence on market value growth was average monthly bottled water cooler rental prices seeing a slight increase along with a modest rise in the price per bottle. By contrast, point of use rental values remain under pressure”, she told Planet Vending. Water Cooler

Some price cutting had been noted by Zenith in certain areas, as a desire to gain share had been a focus for some companies. However, this price cutting did not seem to have been as marked as in previous years and several companies had stated that they seek to ‘stand firm’ on pricing.

“The direct effect on sales by seasonality and weather has diminished”, Karen said. “The weather effect does not appear as prevalent as it used to be. The choice to drink water centres  more around a wish for healthy hydration throughout the year. There really is a growing habit of drinking water more regularly. Some customer groups have been and will remain more weather-sensitive, such as the construction sector. Whilst a hot building site will obviously draw people to take advantage of the water cooler, it is in the office environment where most coolers are installed. As we have seen with smaller bottles of water, the weather is becoming less of a direct influence to office workers.”

One potential area for water cooler growth could be hospitality

Water CoolerLooking to future opportunities for the sector, Zenith’s research indicates that there remain challenges in expanding the use of bottled water coolers to homes. Having said that, the desire for healthy hydration at home as well as at work, combined with the recent focus on reducing plastic packaging, may create greater opportunities for under-sink water filters and compact water coolers.

“One potential area for growth could be hospitality, Karen said. “Some hotels and restaurants are showing interest in installing back of house filters to offer water to customers, with particular interest in machines which can also produce sparkling water.”

*Data provided by BWCA and Zenith Global.

About the author

The Editor

Planet Vending’s Editor is Ian Reynolds-Young and it’s Ian’s unique writing talent that has made PV what it is today – the best read (red) vending blog in the world, and vending’s best read (reed). Ian ‘tripped and fell into vending’, in the capacity of PR executive, before launching a specialist agency, ‘reynoldscopy’, dedicated to the UK Vending business. The company continues to represent the interests of many of the sector’s leading brands.

‘It’s all about telling stories’, he says. ‘We want to make every visit to PV a rewarding experience. By celebrating the achievements of the UK’s operating companies, we’re on a mission to debunk the idea that vending is retailing’s poor relation.’

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