- Water dominates in the U.S. as the beverage of choice. The International Bottled Water Association found in a recent survey that nearly two-thirds of adults polled said still or sparkling bottled water is among their most preferred beverages, followed by coffee at 62% and regular or diet soft drinks at 58%.
- Just about all of the participants in the survey said they drink bottled, filtered or tap water, with 69% of bottled water drinkers saying low calories are important when choosing a beverage. In addition, 72% said the lack of artificial sweeteners is important to their decision making.
- The IBWA study also found nearly all people surveyed said bottled water is a healthier choice than soft drinks, and 93% said bottled water should be available wherever drinks are sold.
Water has surpassed soft drinks as the top selling beverage in the U.S. and shows no sign of giving up its ranking. Nearly all of the participants in this online survey conducted by Harris Poll said they drink either tap, filtered or bottled water. More than 80% of those surveyed said they should drink more water, and 90% believe that bottled water is a healthy and convenient beverage. Past research has shown many consumers believe bottled water is convenient and tastes better than tap water, despite numerous reports of quality issues.
“This poll is consistent with consumption figures released earlier this year that show, for the first time in history, bottled water is the number one packaged beverage in the United States (by volume),” Jill Culora, IBWA’s vice president of communications, said in a statement. “People are shifting away from less healthy packaged drinks and choosing the healthy option – bottled water."
Owing to a combination of visuals, including campaigns that encourage people to drink eight glasses of water a day, hurricanes and problems a few years ago in Flint, Michigan, consumers have embraced bottled water both as a replacement for tap water and soft drinks.
But consumers won't accept just any bottle. A recent class action lawsuit against Nestle Waters North America over its classification as “spring” water shows some consumers place the same high standards on bottlers as those producing any other packaged drink.
Bottled water drinkers judge the product based on its taste, quality and safety features. Even though water is a natural resource, bottlers must maintain quality sourcing as well offer detailed information in marketing campaigns just as they would for any other packaged beverage. Additionally, consumers also want convenient, resealable packaging.
Another area that remains popular with consumers is sparkling water. LaCroix, owned by National Beverage Corporation, continues to enjoy strong growth. The no-calorie sparkling water has become a powerhouse in recent years, thanks to its clean ingredient list, playful social-media driven branding and cheaper price. LaCroix is especially popular among millennial consumers, many of whom are looking for an affordable, healthy alternative to soda and plain water.
As consumes increasingly focus on what they put in their bodies, it doesn't look like water sales of any kind are likely to dry up anytime soon.