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Press Release: Bottled Water Volume Growth Slows in 2022, Data from Beverage Marketing Corporation Show




Despite volume slowdown, producers' sales growth quickened in 2022

New York, NY, May 2023: Bottled water, the largest beverage category by volume in the United States, enlarged again in 2022, but it did so at a slower rate than in 2021. Total bottled water volume grew from 15.7 billion gallons in 2021 to 15.9 billion gallons in 2022, an increase of 1.1% (compared to 4.6% the previous year). In contrast, producers' revenues leapt up by nearly 12%, largely due to higher prices.

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 2022. 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. Confronted with another crisis in 2020, bottled water experienced increased demand, especially early on in the pandemic in the second quarter, when consumers stocked up on what they considered essential goods. Even after pantry-loading abated, demand for bottled water remained strong, as quickening growth in 2021 demonstrated. The category's 2022 growth, while positive, was the weakest since the economic downturn a decade and a half ago.

Even so, per capita consumption reached a new high of 46.5 gallons in 2022, while average intake of carbonated soft drinks was about 36 gallons (unchanged from the year before). 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.

"Bottled water's healthy hydration and calorie-free refreshment make it the ultimate functional beverage," notes Michael C. Bellas, chairman and CEO, Beverage Marketing Corporation. "Even in challenging economic times, bottled water remains consumers' go-to option for an affordable, convenient, portable beverage."

Single-serving sizes stand as the most popular bottled water type, accounting for the majority of the category's volume. In 2022, the single-serve segment enlarged by 1.4% to 11.3 billion gallons, or more than 71% of the total. Some other segments, including home- and office-delivery and self-service refill (vended) water, also grew. Not all of them did, however. While sparkling water and imports frequently outperformed the overall bottled water market in many previous years, both declined in 2022. The 1- to 2.5-gallon multi-serve segment, which experienced something of a boost in 2020 and 2021, also declined in 2022.

Beverage Marketing expects bottled water to extend its already long record of growth and to put still more distance between itself and carbonated soft drinks, the beverage category it surpassed to become the largest.

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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