The East European water cooler market advanced by 1.5% to 1.59 million units at the end of 2011, according to new research from leading drinks consultancy Zenith International. Both bottled water coolers and dispensers were in a stronger position than a year before. The sector benefited in particular from improving business and consumer confidence across the region as well as from increasing demand for quality water.
Sales volume growth slowed after a record-breaking summer heatwave in 2010, with a 0.5% rise to 1687 million litres. Serbia achieved the highest rate of growth in the region.
Russia and Poland remain by far the largest bottled water cooler markets in East Europe, in terms of both units and volumes. Russia retains its leadership, with 39% of units and 32% of volume. However, as the early-adopting markets begin to mature, faster growing markets such as Slovakia, Serbia and Romania are expanding their share.
Nestlé Waters, which operates in the two biggest national markets, held on to its position as the largest water cooler company, with 15.2% of total units. Eden Springs is ranked second, with a 10% share from across five countries in the region.
Business clients continue to dominate placements, representing 82% of installations in 2011. However, since 2009 when thousands of businesses closed down as a result of the economic downturn, the residential market increased significantly, as cooler companies started to look for alternative customers in the domestic sector. In 2011 many industry players reported noteworthy growth in home delivery and many believe it offers substantial development opportunities as the commercial sector moves towards saturation, especially in large cities.
The mains-fed point of use (POU) cooler segment is still very underdeveloped in East Europe. Although POU coolers are now offered in many countries across the region, uptake is limited and companies do not see the concept as a threat to the bottled coolers in the short term. Poor tap water quality in most parts of the region is considered to be the biggest barrier to the development of POU. “People do not trust tap water, even when it comes from a POU system. They prefer bottled water for its better taste and quality”, commented Zenith Market Analyst Iva Hatzold.
Over the next five years, 260,000 additional units are expected to be installed across East Europe, taking the total to over 1.8 million in 2016. Iva Hatzold added “If the macroeconomic climate improves further, the water cooler industry will be able to develop its full potential. Bottled water coolers are forecast to grow at a much faster rate than dispensers, continuing to prove their convenience and greater functionality.”
The 2012 Zenith Report on East Europe Water Coolers contains over 400 pages of market commentary, charts and tables together with country and company profiles. Contact Zenith International on tel +44 (0)1225 327900 or e-mail email@example.com
Notes for Editors
- Two charts for publication are available on request.
- Zenith International is the world’s leading consultancy that advises the food and drinks industry on commercial and technical issues ranging from international strategy to factory design. Zenith works with over 1,000 clients in more than 50 countries. Its market research, expert analysis and information services are used to support the industry in forecasting, business strategy, product development and market planning. Its conference programme attracts senior figures in the food and drinks industry, combining excellent networking opportunities with sessions run by renowned opinion leaders on market trends, innovations and current issues.
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