There were 135,000 more water coolers installed across Europe in 2016, marking a 2.8% increase and taking the total to five million, according to the latest reports from the sector’s leading specialist consultancy Zenith.

The number of bottled water coolers rose by 1.2% to 2.9 million. Bottled water coolers lead in both the East and West European markets, accounting for a respective 63.2% and 54.4% of each region’s total cooler base. The volume of bottled water sold through water coolers in Europe grew by 2.8% to 3,569 million litres, outpacing growth in the packaged water market.

Mains water point of use (POU), although still relatively underdeveloped in East Europe, has continued its advance, up by 5.2% in 2016 to 1.5 million units. It now accounts for 28.9% of the market, compared with 26.0% in 2012.

Dispensers and pumps, which are popular in East Europe, rose by 4.4% to 0.7 million units. Overall, they represented 13.2% of the total combined European market in 2016, driven by their strength in Russia.

Russia retains the lead as Europe’s biggest cooler market at 16.9% of the total, followed by the United Kingdom, Italy, France and Poland. In terms of additional units in 2016, growth was driven mainly by Russia (+4.3%), Germany (+6.5%), Italy (+3.2%) and France (+2.7%), jointly contributing 83,000 extra units.

“A generally improving economic climate, greater business confidence and stronger perceptions of water as a healthy means of hydration have supported growth of the cooler industry in the majority of the European markets,” commented Zenith principal consultant Karen Wells.

A number of key acquisitions took place in 2016 and into 2017, and Zenith expects consolidation to continue. “Companies are focusing on providing cost-effective and quality solutions. There has also been extensive innovation, from machines and bottles to customer interaction and communication,” concluded Karen Wells.

Zenith forecasts that the total European market will advance a further 20% by 2022 to exceed 6.0 million units, with mains water POU coolers accounting for 32.2% of the total. West Europe is projected to reach 3.6 million units and East Europe 2.5 million units.

The 2017 East and West Europe Water Cooler Market Reports contain over 500 pages of market commentary, charts and tables including country and regional market analysis as well as detailed company profiles. Contact Zenith Global on +44 (0)1225 327900 or e-mail moc.labolghtineznull@thgisni.

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