Bottled Water Is The Number Two Beverage In The U.S.

December 16, 2004

Chicago, IL, December 16, 2004 — The bottled water market is estimated to reach $8 billion in sales in 2004, an increase of 7.9% over 2003 sales, according to a new report from Mintel. Bottled water is now the second most consumed beverage in the US based on volume. While carbonated drinks still dominate the overall beverage market in terms of sales with a 90% consumption rate, two-thirds of consumers drink bottled water, making it the number two beverage choice. In addition, per capita consumption is steadily rising, and reached 22.6 gallons in 2003, a 9.8% increase over 2002.

Mintel’s exclusive consumer research shows that two-thirds of respondents drink bottled water indicating a very high rate of penetration. Bottled water is significantly more popular with women than with men. Also, more teens drink bottled water, by percentage, than do adults. Nearly three-quarters of teens drink bottled water while only two-thirds of adults do so. Many adults were not raised with bottled water in the home and consider water something that should be free of charge. Young adults have never been without bottled water either in vending machines, convenience stores, or at events and therefore are often not averse to paying for water.

Over half of those who drink bottled water prefer spring water over purified water and can notice a difference in taste between the two. In addition, 43% feel that there is a significant difference between brands of bottled water, and almost two-thirds are brand loyal. Mid-priced brands show the highest penetration with almost 70% drinking mid-priced brands while value brands also have a strong presence with almost 60% of respondents indicating that they drink them. Only 13% drink premium brands such as Perrier or Fiji.

According to Mintel’s Global New Products Database, new bottled water introductions are up this year. So far in 2004, more than 120 bottled water introductions have appeared in the US market. This is in comparison to 114 in 2003 and 94 in 2002. Innovation will be important to the future growth of the bottled water market. Value-added enhancements such as vitamins and minerals and flavoring can add to the price of the product resulting in increased dollar sales if not volume. ” Even with increased innovation and branding, the days of double-digit growth in the bottled water market are likely over as the market continues to mature. While significant growth is still expected through 2008, per annum growth will likely settle to 5 – 10% per annum, ” comments Tamu Johnson, market analyst for Mintel.

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