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Research and Markets now offers an addition to the Zenith report: West Europe Water Coolers Report 2005. Despite poor summer weather in 2004 following exceptional summer weather in 2003, the European bottled water cooler industry still managed to register volume and unit sales growth, according to Zenith's latest report on this dynamic category. The West Europe water cooler industry registered a 6.4% gain in unit installations in 2004 and a 1.2% increase in water for cooler consumption. This compares to an overall bottled water market decline of 4% last year.
Despite having commenced cooler activities several years after their northern counterparts, the southern European countries have dominated in terms of recent growth. Many have now overtaken the more mature northern markets, thanks to their predisposition to drinking bottled water and warmer climates. Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal are all becoming, or indeed already are, key markets.
Two issues are now presenting challenges and opportunities in Europe's fastest growing service sector. EU expansion is opening up Europe's markets - heightening competition within the water cooler industry. Meanwhile, a battle is underway between bottled water coolers and mains fed point of use (POU) cooler operators.
Since 1999, market consolidation has radically redefined the West Europe water cooler industry, with a hardcore of pan-European and multinational cooler players vying for continental leadership. Tracking the complex developments within Europe's water cooler industry, Zenith's latest report plots the influence of two bottled water giants - Nestle and Danone - on the European home and office delivery (HOD) industry.
A feature of the market in 2004 was the 'clearing out' of unprofitable cooler accounts by the major operators. With a number of accounts either lying dormant or taking limited amounts of water - a decision to rationalize and prioritize profitability ahead of a traditional focus on building cooler portfolios is putting Europe's water cooler industry on a more steady footing. As a consequence, with certain unprofitable accounts terminated, the fortunes of Europe's leading cooler players on a country by country basis were mixed in 2004.