Plumbed-in mains water coolers, known as point-of-use, have raised their share of the US cooler market, according to recent research.

In its US Point of Use Coolers Report 2010, food and drink consultancy Zenith International has said this week that point-of-use (POU) coolers upped their share to 14% last year, with the number of units reaching 700,000.

Out of the 700,000 unit total last year, 75% were in offices. A further 7% were based in factories, hospitals, schools and universities, with homes and other locations making up the remainder. 

"50,000 new POU locations were added during the year,” said Zenith's senior market analyst Charmaine Holmes.

“The success of bottled water coolers has provided the platform for this POU growth,” Holmes continued. “Yet, the US provides a real challenge for the POU industry-partly due to the country’s geography and sheer size, and partly due to the highly fragmented nature of the market. The majority of distributors have portfolios with just a few hundred POU units each.”

Zenith forecasts that, by 2014, the US market will be close to 1.3m units, taking POU towards one quarter of the combined bottled and POU water cooler market.