Total bottled water volume grew from 11.8 billion gallons in
2015 to 12.8 billion gallons last year, according to Beverage
Marketing Corp. On a per capita basis, bottled water consumption
exceeded 39 gallons compared with 38.5 gallons for soda. Carbonated
soft-drink per-capita consumption exceeded 50 gallons as recently
as 2006. Beverage Marketing Corp. projected that bottled water
would hit the 50-gallon mark by the middle of next decade.
"Bottled water effectively reshaped the beverage marketplace,"
Michael Bellas, chairman-CEO of Beverage Marketing Corp., said in a
statement. "When Perrier first entered the country in the 1970s,
few would have predicted the heights to which bottled water would
eventually climb. Where once it would have been unimaginable to see
Americans walking down the street carrying plastic bottles of
water, or driving around with them in their cars' cup holders, now
that's the norm."
The report comes after another industry tracker, Beverage
Digest, in February projected that bottled water volume consumption
would surpass carbonated soft drinks in 2017. Beverage Digest noted
that carbonated soft-drink dollar sales and profit margins are
still greater than those of bottled waters, "much of which is sold
in bulk multi-packs in the grocery channel." The largest bottled
water brands by volume is Nestle PureLife, followed by
Coca-Cola-owned Dasani and PepsiCo's Aquafina, according to
The changing dynamics have reshaped beverage marketing. The
Super Bowl, long home to glitzy soda marketing, was used by two
premium bottled water brands this year to run in-game ads. They
included PepsiCo, which opted to run a spot for its new Lifewtr
brand instead of its flagship cola. Wonderful Company's Fiji
bottled water brand also ran a Super Bowl ad. Soda marketers such
as Coca Cola Co. are still spending heavily on advertising, but
they have shifted their strategy to emphasize smaller pack sizes,
while prioritizing profit growth over volume growth.
Beverage Marketing Corp. reported that "bottled water's ascent
coincided with and encouraged seismic shifts in consumer
preferences for healthier refreshment and hydration. As the
ultimate portable and affordable beverage, bottled water spawned
new usage occasions and habits."