UK Water dispense market nears £200 million

With hydration becoming ever more important for British consumers, the UK water dispense market grew by 2.3% in value to £192 million and by 2.9% in units installed to over 870,000 in 2019, according to the latest UK Water Dispense Market report from Zenith Global, the food and drink experts.

“This was despite poorer summer weather than 2018 and increased business uncertainty over Brexit,” commented Zenith Global Chairman Richard Hall.

• Bottled water dispensers are still the mainstay, accounting for 59% of revenue and 40% of units installed.

• Mains fed point of use units, however, have risen steadily to 24% of revenue and 38% of units.

• Integrated tap systems have also gained share to 17% of revenue and 22% of units.

“Bottled water dispensers add more value because they involve bottle sales as well as unit rentals,” explained Mr Hall. “Plastic, however, is a growing challenge for the industry.

“Water dispenser bottles are re-used many times and that brings environmental advantages. Single-use plastic cups are cheaper than compostable or refillable alternatives. Refillability has become an important new feature of the dispense market over the past two years.”

Zenith Global forecasts continuing future growth for the UK water dispense market up to 950,000 units by 2024. A big unknown for all current market predictions is the impact of the current coronavirus pandemic. Most water dispense units are in places of work and that could lead to a dip in 2020 before growth resumes. “One other notable change in the market that we are forecasting is point of use overtaking bottled water dispensers in 2021,” Mr Hall concluded.

A summary of the report is being circulated to all members of the Water-dispenser & Hydration Association (WHA), whose 2020 conference is scheduled for 29th October.

WHA chairman Jon Wicks added: “Covid-19 is causing widespread illness and hardship in the UK and throughout the world. However, proper hydration remains essential to us all. Members of the Water-dispenser & Hydration Association continue to provide customers in the food supply chain and key industries with safe and hygienic water, albeit with strict delivery protocols. The WHA continues to monitor the situation and will provide members with support both now and in future months.”