By the end of 2007, the number of point-of-use (POU) water coolers installed in the U.S. reached 582,000, up 14.6% on 2006, according to a new report from specialist consultants Zenith Intl. Also known as plumbed-in or mains-fed coolers, POU systems purify and chill mains tap water. With an estimated value of $201 million last year, Zenith finds the U.S. plumbed-in water cooler market is a dynamic and profitable sector.
"More than anywhere else in the world, U.S. water consumption choices have sparked debate among politicians, retailers, consumers, restaurateurs and businesses," commented Zenith Market Intelligence Director Gary Roethenbaugh. "Whilst the supply of pure drinking water, by tap or in bottles, has always been of interest, American consumer drinking water demands and expectations have become much more sophisticated both in the home and in the workplace."
A national debate about water availability, coupled with more challenging economic conditions, has contributed to a boost in the awareness and uptake of POU. In 2007, more than 450,000 POU units were in active use in U.S. offices. A further 26,000 were based in factories, hospitals, schools and universities, with homes and other locations making up the remainder. "In the 12 months to December 2007, 74,000 new POU units were installed across the country," added Roethenbaugh.
Looking to the future, Zenith forecasts that POU will hit the 1 million mark in 2011, taking a 16.5% share of the combined bottled water cooler and POU cooler markets in the U.S. By then it is predicted that there will be more than 3 POU units for every 1,000 people.
Source: Zenith International