Woman Buying Bottled Water

I spent an interesting morning this week with a leading bottle water manufacturer presenting the findings from the latest Bottled Water report – UK, May 2011 to feed into their strategic planning. It’s always good to compare findings and points of view and make sure we’re answering the sort of questions that our clients are posing. A recurring theme that came out of the discussion was how paradoxical the bottled water consumer is: hardly surprising given that they buy a product that is available for free in their homes. On the one hand three fifths say own-label water is just as good as branded, but then these very same consumers admit to being influenced by a range of brand characteristics from whether a bottled water brand is established/trustworthy (39%), if it is British (47%), and (for young consumers especially) not wanting to be seen drinking brands that make them look unethical.

With people currently so hard up for cash and re-evaluating what should and should not make it into their shopping basket, you would think sales of bottled water would be especially vulnerable?

However, the market is much more resilient than I initially thought: a large minority of Brits think that bottled water is inherently superior to tap both in taste and purity, and it seems that bottle triumphs over the tap in terms of convenience as well, with over three in five consumers viewing water as a key way to ensure they remain hydrated when out and about. So expect more NPD around packaging that promotes convenience and portability but also panders to consumers environmental concerns.

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