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Press Release: Bottled Water Continues Growing, New Report From Beverage Marketing Corporation Shows




Volume reaches a record high

New York, July 2015 — Bottled water strengthened its already prominent position in the U.S. beverage marketplace with another year of significant growth in 2014. Enlarging by 7.3%, bottled water reached an historical high of almost 10.9 billion gallons. Per capita consumption also reached a new peak of 34 gallons.

Before the economic setbacks of the late 2000s, bottled water enjoyed a long streak of very fast volume growth, as documented in U.S. Bottled Water through 2019, Beverage Marketing Corporation's latest report on 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. Growth was faster in 2014 than in 2013, and much more vigorous 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 10.4 billion gallons represented nearly 96% of total volume in 2014.

The non–sparkling category includes various components that typically perform quite differently from one another. In 2014, for the third year in a row, all four segments registered growth, albeit at dissimilar rates. 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 2014, the segment advanced by 8.3%, catapulting volume above 7.2 billion gallons and market share to 66.5%.

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 slid from nearly one-quarter of the category volume at the beginning of the century to less than 10% by 2014, largely due to competition from PET. After multiple declines, the segment did grow in 2011, 2012, 2013 and again in 2014. Nonetheless, retail bulk's 2.2% uptick was the slowest of any domestic still water segment in 2014. 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 less than 12% of total volume by 2014. U.S. home– and office–delivery (HOD) volume slipped from close to 1.4 billion gallons in the early 2000s to 1.3 billion gallons in 2014, when volume moved up by 4.9%.

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 2014, 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 a slightly higher rate than HOD.)

Both of the two segments outside the domestic non–sparkling realm grew in 2014, explosively so. 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. In 2014, in contrast, imports notched their first double–digit growth rate since 2007. Sparkling water held a small share of bottled water volume but grew at a rate faster than any other type, including retail PET (as well as imports), in 2014.

New York City–based Beverage Marketing Corporation is the leading research, consulting and financial services firm dedicated to the global beverage industry.


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