Industry Statistics

The UK water cooler market consists of both bottled water coolers and mains fed plumbed-in (POU) coolers which dispense filtered chilled mains tap water.

Water Cooler Market data highlights for 2016 (Source: Zenith Global)

  • The total market was worth £129 million in 2016 compared with £123 million the previous year – nearly 5% growth
  • Market size in 2016 was 651,000 water cooler units compared with 645,000 at the end of 2015, an increase of 1% and the fourth successive year of growth
  • Both bottled water coolers and POU (mains-fed) coolers have increased in numbers in the past year, but the bottled water segment accounted for the major increase in units rented.

New market research carried out by Zenith Global shows the value of the UK water cooler market has grown by nearly 5% in the UK. The number of water cooler units increased by 1% in 2016. Market data showed that the value of the UK water cooler market now stands at £129 million – up £6 million compared with 2015.

The market split between the two types of coolers has been relatively stable since 2012 and continued to remain so in 2016, with bottled water coolers accounting for 53% of the market and POU coolers accounting for the remaining 47%. By contrast, 8 years ago in 2009, POU accounted for 40% of total units. It wasn’t until the financial recession abated in 2011 that the bottled water cooler segment picked up.

In terms of units installed, the number of bottled water coolers increased by 1.3% to 345,000 units, whilst POU coolers increased by 0.8% to 306,000 units. Volume sales of bottled water showed a 3% rise to 305 million litres.


Future outlook

  • There is unlikely to be more divergence in the coming years in the split between bottled water coolers and POU units. Zenith Global forecasts combined units will reach 690,000 units by 2021
  • Acquisition activity increased in 2016 and it is expected to continue into 2017 and beyond
  • Product portfolio expansion and greater interest in a wider range of products is likely, including hot water boilers and under-sink machines.

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