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Press Release: Bottled Water, the Biggest Beverage in the U.S., Grows Again in 2019, Data From Beverage Marketing Corporation Show




Growth slowed somewhat in 2019

New York, NY, May 2020: After having topped carbonated soft drinks to become the largest beverage category by volume in the United States three years earlier, bottled water growth enlarged further still in 2019, although it did so at a slower rate than in 2018. Total bottled water volume grew from 13.8 billion gallons in 2018 to almost 14.4 billion gallons in 2019, an increase of 3.6% (compared to almost 5% the previous year).

Other than two relatively small declines in 2008 and 2009 — when most beverage categories contracted due to that period's financial crisis — bottled water volume grew every year from 1977 to 2018. This period included 17 double-digit annual volume growth spurts. Since resuming growth in 2010, bottled water volume has consistently enlarged at solid single-digit percentage rates. Consequently, per capita consumption approached 44 gallons in 2019, while average intake of carbonated soft dipped below 37 gallons. At the turn of the century, per capita soft drink consumption regularly exceeded 50 gallons, and Beverage Marketing expects bottled water to reach that level by the middle of the 2020s.

The contrasting trajectories of the two largest beverage types are noteworthy. "Bottled water's rapid rise happened at the same time consumers started demanding healthier forms of rehydration and refreshment, and it was largely responsible for that change in preferences," explained Michael C. Bellas, chairman and CEO, Beverage Marketing Corporation. "Affordable, convenient and portable bottled water is suitable for virtually any usage occasion at any time of day. It became the preferred beverage both for anyone looking for an all-natural refreshment beverage and for anyone reducing calories or avoiding artificial sweeteners," he added.

Single-serving sizes became the most popular bottled water option, accounting for the majority of the category's volume. In 2019, the single-serve segment enlarged more than 4% to almost 10.1 billion gallons. Yet most other segments, including home and office delivery, sparkling water and imports, also registered growth in 2019. Indeed, domestic sparking water advanced at a double-digit rate, and imports outperformed the overall market, though both still claimed comparatively small shares of volume. (Larger, multi-serving bottles provided the exception and volume in this segment was essentially flat from 2018 to 2019.)

Looking forward, Beverage Marketing expects bottled water to lengthen its already considerable record of growth and to put still more distance between itself and the beverage category it surpassed to become the biggest.

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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