Bottled Water Poised to Overtake Soda as Most Popular Beverage

It may come as a surprise to many that bottled water is on the brink of surpassing soda as the most popular drink in the United States. This seismic demand for bottle water is occurring everywhere, from grocery stores and convenience shops to restaurants and vending machines.

The rise in the popularity of bottled water accompanies a fall from grace by many sugary beverages as the nation becomes more and more concerned with good health. Statistics show that bottled water consumption in the U.S. grew 120 percent between 2000 and 2015.

Experts site other reasons for the rise in the popularity of bottled water. For example, unlike orange juice and sports drinks that are usually consumed at particular times of day, water is consumed throughout the day.

The bottled water industry, however, is exploding not just in the United States but around the world. Bottled water is the fast-growing beverage market in the world. This growth has been occurring for the past 20 years and the bottled water industry is expected to reach $280 billion by 2020.

So where do we stand in 2017? Here are some of the major news and trends expected to dominate the bottled-water market this year:

  1. China will remain the number one consumer of bottled water. In 2016, China surpassed the U.S. in bottled water sales. Overall, the Asian market share of the bottled water industry was 41 percent in 2015. Surveys show that the increase in sales of bottled water in China comes down to desire for pure drinking water.
  2. It’s not your father’s bottled water. The ability of bottled water producers to create new types of bottled water is what has helped fuel the explosive growth in the industry. From flavored water to vitamin-infused water to sparkling water and even oxygenated water, bottled water companies are constantly looking for new ways to expand their offerings and, ultimately, market share.
  3. Packaging counts. Novelty counts in the bottled water industry and innovative packaging and shelf appeal are huge factors in attracting consumers to particular brands.

Not everyone in the beverage world is thrilled with the trend toward bottled water. Marketing data shows that consumers are not nearly as loyal to water brands as they are to soda brands. Further, the profit margins for bottled water are lower than other beverages. This has caused major beverage companies to be less than enthusiastic about consumers’ shift toward bottle water. Finally, many people are concerned about all of the plastic bottle waste that comes with bottled water.

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