Bottled Water Market

Bottled water is the second largest commercial beverage category by volume in the United States. However, bottled water consumption is about half that of carbonated soft drinks and only slightly ahead of milk and beer.

According to the Beverage Marketing Corporation (BMC), in 2014 the total volume of bottled water consumed in the United States was 11 billion gallons, a 7.4% increase from 2013. That translates into an average of 34 gallons per person.  While that may sound like a lot, it actually puts the U.S. in 10th place when it comes to global per-capita consumption.

Back in 1976, every American drank 1.6 gallons of bottled water.  The continued increase in per capita consumption indicates that consumers see bottled water as a healthy alternative to other packaged beverages. Consistant with this view, sales revenues for the U.S. bottled water market in 2014 were $13 billion in wholesale dollars, a 6.1% increase over the previous year.

Nearly all of the bottled water sold in the U.S. is sourced domestically. Imported bottled water accounts for only 1.5% of the U.S. market. The vast majority of bottled water companies in the U.S. are small, community-based companies using local water sources and distributing their products within an average radius of 300 miles from their bottling facilities.

Despite the bottled water industry's size, the amount of water actually sold is relatively tiny, compared to tap water volumes.  U.S. public water systems supply more than 1 billion gallons of tap water an hour, every hour of the day.

The total amount of bottled water Americans buy in one year would only supply U.S. tap water needs from midnight until 9 a.m. on January 1.