Industry Statistics

The UK water dispenser market consists of bottled water dispensers, mains fed (POU) dispensers which dispense filtered chilled mains tap water, and Integrated Tap Systems (ITS).

Water Dispenser Market data highlights for 2021

(Source: Zenith Global)

  • The UK water dispense industry enjoyed a record year in 2021 which saw overall dispenser placements installed increase
  • The number of dispensers increased 5% to 785,000
  • Revenues increased by 13% to £184 million
  • Bottled water dispensers grew somewhat, to 330,00,000 at the end of 2021 with a market share of 42% but remain the biggest segment by value
  • Mains-fed dispensers are the largest segment of the market by unit numbers with 345,000 units, representing a 44% share.
  • ITS (integrated tap systems) showed the strongest uplift, reaching 110 units and a 14% share of market.
  • The success story is remarkable given the poor performance of the sector during the Covid pandemic due to lockdowns.

Market Forecast

  • Zenith Global forecasts that:
    • Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Zenith Global forecasts future growth based on the key principles of healthy hydration, convenience and premiumisation of at home and at work consumption.
    • Water volumes are forecast to continue increasing incrementally to reach 291.3 million litres in 2026, while BWD is expected to have reached its peak in 2018 and is now forecast to remain flat to 2021 performance, saturated at around 330,000 units.
    • Mains-fed is expected to continue gradually gaining market share to pass 380,000 units in 2026 with share of 45.1% (up from 44.0% in 2021).
    • The strongest growth is forecast for ITS, growing 22.8% to almost 140,000 at the end of the period to claim a market share of 16.3% share (rising from 14.3% in 2021).
    • By 2026, the total market is expected to reach nearly 850,000 units, 7.9% above 2021; that's 12.2 units per thousand people, up 5.3% on 2021 which stood at 11.6 units per '000.

UK Water Dispense 2016 – 2025 April 2021

Future water consumption trends

  • Undoubtedly the key focus for 2021 was Covid recovery. Other influencing factors included growing cost inflation and supply chain concerns which were impacted by both the pandemic and Brexit.
  • On the plus side, with all these distractions at play, environmental concerns which were a formerly front-of-mind topic for the industry have seemed to fall into the background in the last few years. Despite the overall increasingly anti-plastics culture in the UK, climate concerns seem to have had little discernible impact on the water dispense industry of late.
  • However, the refill revolution is expected to return to focus, and messaging will be important to show that the dispense industry is well positioned to be the solution for low-plastic, sustainable water provision in a war that is primarily being waged on single use packaging.
  • During 2021, small pack plain water volumes grew by 9% in the UK. As bulk water volumes rose by a slightly higher rate at almost 10%, water in formats of 10+ litres clawed back some total market share from small pack after a significant drop in 2020 with volume losses of almost 30%. Despite this, alternative dispensed water sources and tap water remain the main competitors to BWD, not small pack water, in commercial settings.

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The WHA wishes to thank Zenith Global for making this data available to the Association.