The UK water cooler market is now the largest in Europe with around 720,000 in circulation For over 30 years water coolers have been a common fixture in offices across the UK, hydrating workforces with filtered and chilled drinking water. Employers have benefited from improved concentration levels and increased productivity from keeping their staff hydrated with an instant supply of good quality drinking water. Water cooler companies have been competing to provide their customers with the best possible solutions at the best possible prices. From bottled water coolers to plumbed in coolers, the industry is fast changing and constantly evolving. Recent product innovation is being driven by concerns about the environment and water cooler companies around the world are striving to develop a ‘greener' industry that doesn't rely heavily on plastic. So what's the next ‘big' thing for the water industry? Is there a future for the commercial market? Is the domestic market the next area to target? Let's find out... Business in Bottles According to the industry association BWCA (Bottled Water Cooler Association) the overall water cooler market is expected to continue expanding. Both bottled and plumbed in sectors of the market are set to maintain popularity in the business-to-business sector. In order to stand out from the crowd, water cooler companies will need to offer unique, unrivalled products at good prices and deliver their customers with an excellent service. Domestic Drinks For a long time the residential sector for water coolers in the UK has been seen as the next big market to ‘crack'. The pace now seems to be gathering momentum with slicker, neater water cooler products being introduced to potential customers. Rival water cooler companies are spending a significant amount of money on advertising and marketing to home consumers and believe that the time is now to educate and target the market. Looking at various figures and statistics it can be seen that in the USA domestic water coolers represent a significant share of the water coolers sold and in comparison, the UK domestic cooler figures are very low. It makes sense that the home cooler is more popular in the warmer climates of the USA but can this popularity spread across the chillier side of the pond? Coolers in Kitchens There is an ongoing debate about whether coolers in kitchens here in Blighty will catch on:
  • Our climate is very different to the USA and so maybe people don't feel the need to drink as much chilled water. The water cooler isn't seen as an essential appliance in the same way as it is in warmer climates.
  • Water coolers are sold in supermarkets and on garage forecourts in places such as America and the Middle East making them much more accessible to their consumers. It wouldn't be possible to do this in the UK, making it harder to penetrate the market.
  • As we all become more educated about environmental issues, the awareness of the damage that buying numerous plastic bottles does may drive people towards installing a more permanent cooler to provide them with a constant and instant supply of filtered water.
  • Another factor is the storage of the plastic water bottles that consumers buy. As people become more aware of the home cooler, the appeal of not having to store bottled water may persuade them to order their first cooler.
  • The quality and taste of the water coming out of the tap would influence potential customers. People in a highly chlorinated water area maybe more inclined to purchase a cooler for their kitchen.
  • As more domestic coolers are launched into the market place costs of the coolers will be driven down and may become more of an attractive proposition to customers.
  • People see it as a ‘nice to have' not a ‘have to have'
We'll have to watch this space to see how the market pans out but as cooler companies compete to secure business, now is a great time to be a cooler consumer!