NEW YORK -- Bottled water sales are continuing their upward rise, with no crest in sight, according to a published report.
In 1995 Americans drank 2.9 billion gallons of bottled water -- an average of 11 gallons for every man, woman and child, and a 7.4% increase over the previous year -- according to Bottled Water in the U.S., a 1996 report released by Beverage Marketing Corp. here this month. The report predicts bottled water will continue to grow rapidly through the end of the century, reaching a total volume of 3.9 billion gallons, or 14.2 gallons per capita, by the year 2000. According to Beverage Marketing, bottled water accounted for 11.1% of all refreshment beverages sold in 1995, surpassing new age beverages, which have an 8.3% market share, and rapidly approaching the 12.9% held by fruit drinks and 14.7% held by beer. Soft drinks, with a 52.9% share, maintained their widespread lead.
The study found that the major growth in the category is from the non-sparkling (still) waters, which accounted for more than four of every five containers sold last year. Domestic sparkling waters declined in sales, a trend the report attributed to competition from teas, juices and other new age alternatives.
Gary Hemphill, vice president of information services at Beverage Marketing, told SN the largest area for bottled water remains the bulk commercial and home delivery market. With its 3-, 5- and 6-gallon jugs, this market has a 46% share, based on gallons. It is followed by the 1- and 2-gallon retail jugs, which comprise 34.7% of the market.
"The jug waters are more of a substitute for drinking water, while the sports bottles are more for refreshment business," Hemphill said, citing concern over the safety of municipal water supplies as a key factor in the growth of the category. Demand for single-serve bottles with "sports caps" and an increase in the number of areas that sell bottled water is also fueling growth, Hemphill said.
"The biggest region for bottled water sales is the Pacific, followed by the Northeast. Part of that stems from concerns over tap water, but, especially in the Pacific, people are always working out and jogging, and there is the perception that water is part of a healthier lifestyle," he said.
The report found 908 different brands of domestic and imported bottled water sold in the United States, with 23 brands using the word "mountain," 22 "crystal" and 20 "pure" on their labels. Arrowhead is the leading brand, with a 6.9% market share, followed by Poland Spring with a 6% share. Both brands are marketed by Perrier Group.