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Press Release: Bottled Water Sustains Strength



Volume reaches a record high

NEW YORK, NY, May 2014: With another year of forceful growth in 2013, bottled water further solidified its already prominent position in the U.S. beverage marketplace. Growing by 4.7%, bottled water reached an historical high of more than 10 billion gallons in 2013. Per capita consumption also reached a new peak of 32 gallons.

Prior to the economic challenges of the late 2000s, bottled water experienced an exceptional streak of speedy volume growth, as documented in the latest edition of Bottled Water in the U.S., Beverage Marketing Corporation's annual analysis of the market. Yet like many other beverage categories in the United States during the depths of the economic recession, bottled water suffered reversals in 2008 and 2009. In 2010, bottled water volume returned to growth. The category showed renewed vitality in 2011, and growth accelerated in 2012. It performance in 2013 was considerably more vibrant than most major liquid refreshment beverage segments.

Domestic non–sparkling water perennially reigns as the biggest segment of the U.S. packaged water industry. Domestic non–sparkling water’s 9.7 billion gallons represented 96% of total volume in 2013.

The non–sparkling category includes various components that typically follow divergent trajectories. In 2013, for the third year in a row, all four segments registered growth. Throughout most of the 1990s and 2000s, the retail premium segment — consisting of still water in single–serve polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles — drove the overall category's development. Indeed, the PET component enlarged by a double–digit percentage rate 16 consecutive times through 2007. In 2013, the segment increased by more than 6% to almost 6.7 billion gallons, which represented two–thirds of the overall market.

Retail bulk volume experienced some reversals as more than a few consumers chose convenient PET multipacks in large format retail channels instead of larger (1 to 2.5 gallon) sizes. Its share eroded from nearly one–quarter of the category volume at the beginning of the century to 10% by 2013, largely as a result of competition from PET. After multiple declines, the segment did grow in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Nonetheless, retail bulk's 1% uptick was the slowest of any domestic still water segment in 2013. Direct delivery also confronted intramural competition from handy, portable PET bottles. The segment, which comprised the largest of them all as recently as the mid–1990s, accounted for 12.1% of total volume by 2013. U.S. home– and office–delivery (HOD) volume slipped from close to 1.4 billion gallons in the early 2000s to 1.2 billion gallons in 2013, when volume moved up by 1.7%.

The relatively small, essentially regional vending segment involving refillable jug containers achieved growth even in the years when total bottled water volume declined. Its low cost during economic hard times undoubtedly had something to do with vending's positive results. It continued to grow in 2013, albeit at a far slower rate than either the domestic still water market or the bottled water market as a whole. (It inched up at the same rate as HOD.)

Both of the two segments outside the domestic non–sparkling realm grew in 2013, one of them forcefully. The imported water segment, the smallest of them all, is prone to fluctuations. In the 2000s, it registered double–digit percentage growth in some years, and equally sizeable contractions in others. After one of those up years in 2007, imported water's volume fell sharply in 2008 and then plummeted precipitously in 2009. It continued to shrink in 2010 before inching up by a modest clip in 2011. Volume dropped dramatically again in 2012, but did move up (at a market–lagging pace) in 2013. Sparkling water held a small share of bottled water volume but grew at a rate faster than any other type, including retail PET, in 2013.

New York City–based Beverage Marketing Corporation is the leading research, consulting and advisory services firm dedicated to the global beverage industry. Serving the industry for more than 40 years, the company offers more than 50 market trend reports which include in–depth studies of various beverage sectors such as Bottled Water in the U.S. as well as market reports covering drink sectors such as Carbonated Soft Drinks in the U.S. and Milk and Dairy Beverages in the U.S. Most recently, the launch of the company's DrinkTell™ database has provided an easy to use platform for users to access U.S. and global data on a broad range of alcohol and non–alcohol beverage categories.


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