Competition Hotter in US Cooler Market
Plumbed-in mains water coolers, known as point of use, have emerged as a key competitor to bottled water coolers in the United States, increasing their share of the overall cooler market to 14% in 2009. According to new research from leading food and drink consultancy Zenith International, the number of point of use (POU) water coolers installed had reached 700,000 by the end of last year, up 8% on December 2008.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The success of bottled water coolers has provided the platform for this POU growth,Ã¢â‚¬Â commented Zenith Senior Market Analyst Charmaine Holmes. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Yet the US provides a real challenge for the POU industry-partly due to the countryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s geography and sheer size, and partly due to the highly fragmented nature of the market. The majority of distributors have portfolios with just a few hundred POU units each.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The POU industry has proved resilient through the recent economic downturn. Operators have highlighted the convenience, environmental and cost saving potential benefits of the concept. Another key boost to the POU business has been growing consumer awareness of water quality issues. Initially, consumers were looking for better tasting chilled water than municipal water. Increasingly, health concerns have entered the equation. As a result, a broad spectrum of companies have grasped the POU opportunity, including bottled water cooler companies, vending companies, office coffee service companies, water treatment suppliers and dedicated POU operators.
Out of the 700,000 unit total last year, 75% were in offices. A further 7% were based in factories, hospitals, schools and universities, with homes and other locations making up the remainder. "50,000 new POU locations were added during the year," explained Charmaine Holmes.
It is clear that there is considerable long term potential for POU in the United States. Zenith forecasts that the market will be close to 1.3 million units by 2014, taking POU towards one quarter of the combined bottled and POU water cooler market.
The 2010 Zenith Report on US Point of Use contains over 70 pages of market commentary, charts and tables together with company profiles. Contact Zenith International on tel +44 (0)1225 327900, fax +44 (0)1225 327901 or e-mail email@example.com.
Notes for Editors
1. Two charts are attached for publication.
2. For further information, please contact:
Charmaine Holmes, Zenith International Ltd
7 Kingsmead Square, Bath BA1 2AB, United Kingdom
t +44 (0)1225 327900, f +44 (0)1225 327901