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5 Fun Cooler Box Trends to Watch

Group of five people walking through forest with cooler box

Cooler boxes are perfect for summer camping trips or days at the beach. But today’s consumers are using them in more ways than ever before, and with so many cooler boxes on the market now there are plenty of options to choose from. The top cooler box trends to watch range from a variety of styles and materials, but they all do their job.

Table of Contents
Global market value of cooler boxes
6 cooler box trends among today’s consumers
The future of the cooler box

Global market value of cooler boxes

Having a cooler box on hand is essential for consumers who spend a lot of time outdoors or like to host large events with friends and family. They’re portable, insulated, easy to use, and help goods maintain a cold temperature, with everything from food, drinks, and ice packs being thrown inside. The cooler box has been around for a long time, so it comes as no surprise that as more people start to spend longer periods of time outdoors, the demand for cooler boxes is on the rise and new styles are emerging in the market.

In 2020, the global market value of cooler boxes reached USD 4.60 billion, and that number is expected to rise to at least USD 13.21 billion by 2028, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.1% during that period. As well as more people spending time outdoors, this significant growth is down to other factors such as a growing pharmaceutical industry and a rise in demand for perishable food products that need to be stored in cooler conditions. 

Woman carrying teal cooler box on pebble beach

6 cooler box trends among today’s consumers

The function of a cooler box hasn’t changed in recent years, but the designs have. Although some of the more traditional styles of cooler boxes are still very popular with consumers, more unique ones are hitting the market too. The top cooler box trends today include rotomolded coolers, the soft cooler bag, the small portable cooler, funky patterned coolers, coolers made of styrofoam, and the backpack cooler.

Rotomolded cooler

Rotomolded coolers are all the rage right now, with many popular outdoor brands bringing out their own versions of this heavy-duty cooler. What sets the rotomolded cooler apart from others is the thick wall design as well as the insulation that’s made of polyurethane foam in the walls and lid, helping to maintain ice-cold temperatures inside. The rotational process that’s used to form the cooler makes perfect shapes every time and is a cost-effective way of producing plastic parts as well.

What consumers love about the latest rotomolded coolers are the additional features added to the outside of them. Many of these modern coolers now come with cup holders on the lid, a can opener attached to the side, a locking system to keep the contents inside safe, and a leak-proof drainage system that allows for easy cleaning. Consumers can take this cooler anywhere with ease of mind.

Bright blue rotomolded cooler box with black locking latches

Soft cooler bag

The soft cooler bag is one of the most portable and lightweight options in today’s market. Unlike the larger-sized cooler, the soft cooler bag can easily be carried on the shoulder by one person and is perfect for shorter day trips that don’t require a lot of food and drink to be transported. There are various sizes available in this type of cooler bag so the consumer can choose the best fit for them.

The outside of this cooler is usually made of vinyl or fabric, which helps to keep the weight down. In some cases, they’re collapsible too so they’re a good option for consumers who don’t have a lot of storage space at home. The soft cooler bag would predominantly be used for beach trips, road trips, fishing, or picnics, but it’s a very versatile bag so it can be used in many other situations and still benefit the user.

Navy blue soft shell cooler on bright blue wooden table

Small portable ice cooler

When people think of a hard shell cooler box, they most likely envisage a large cooler with ice inside keeping drinks cool on a hot summer day. However, it’s the small portable cooler that’s now gaining popularity among consumers. This cooler box trend is unique because it’s not meant to hold bottles or food (although it can if necessary). It’s meant to store liquid and ice that can be easily accessed by several people. 

The thick insulated design can offer days worth of ice retention, and the valve on the front works as an outlet for the liquid to be dispensed from. For consumers who don’t wish to use it for a giant punch bowl, it can also serve as an ice cooler and the water can easily be taken out using the valve as it melts. This cooler box is a more recent addition to the market, so its popularity is only set to rise, especially as more colors and patterns are added to it.

Multi-color small cooler box with liquid valve on front

Funky cooler

Not all cooler boxes have to be a single color and look bland. Today’s market is seeing an increase in demand for multi-color coolers and coolers that have funky patterns on them. These coolers often come in the form of a rotomolded cooler, but there are many options out there for consumers who prefer a different style. If the cooler is being used in a busy area, such as a beach or outdoor festival, the bright colors of the cooler make it easier to locate among the crowds. It’s not uncommon to see this cooler box on wheels with a handle either, so it’s easier to transport with more weight inside. 

One of the most popular patterns for this cooler box is camouflage, with everything from green to pink catching the eye of the consumer. More psychedelic colors are expected to emerge over the next couple of years as this cooler box trend starts to pick up steam.

Two different sized camouflage cooler boxes with pink wheels

Styrofoam 

Heavy duty and soft shell coolers are very on trend at the moment, but the traditional styrofoam cooler is still very much a popular choice with consumers. This type of cooler is predominantly used for shipping cold or frozen goods, as the lightweight material won’t affect shipping costs too much, and it’s not an expensive cooler to invest in. 

But the styrofoam cooler box is also a great addition to an indoor event. The material means that it will get dirty quite quickly, so it’s not ideal for camping trips or days at the beach. This type of cooler box is beginning to be used more often for indoor parties or large gatherings as it does the job of keeping drinks and food cold for a short period of time, and doesn’t cost too much compared to other coolers. 

White styrofoam cooler box sitting next to an outdoor BBQ

Backpack cooler

One of the more unique cooler box trends to emerge in recent years is the backpack cooler. Not everyone finds it comfortable to carry a cooler on their shoulder or lug a heavy container around with them, which is where the backpack cooler comes in. This type of cooler can have a traditional hiking backpack look to it, with a large capacity and storage on the outside too, or it can take on a more fashionable look. 

The fashionable backpack coolers are very popular with female consumers who can look stylish as they carry their drinks with them. Some backpack coolers even have special wine holders built into them and dispensing valves for easy access. Consumers love the backpack cooler not only for the various styles and colors available, but also because it’s comfortable and convenient to transport.

Cream and brown cooler backpack being worn by a man

The future of the cooler box

The latest cooler box trends are seeing a blending of past designs with modern features, which are really starting to appeal to a wider number of consumers. As more people spend longer periods of time outdoors, the cooler box is becoming even more of an essential piece of outdoor equipment to have on hand. Styles such as the rotomolded cooler, the soft shell cooler, small portable ice coolers, coolers with fun patterns, the traditional styrofoam cooler, and the modern backpack cooler are all making their mark in the outdoor cooler box market.

As more consumers start to have a larger disposable income to spend on goods, and with lifestyle changes that are leaning towards more luxurious buying experiences, the market is expecting even more unique cooler box trends to emerge to keep up with this growing consumer demand. Traditional cooler boxes will continue to undergo modern transformations, and more sustainable materials will start to be incorporated into cooler boxes as well. 

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