Bottled Water Market
Capping a remarkable, decades-long streak of vigorous growth, bottled water passed a major milestone in 2016 when it surpassed carbonated soft drinks to become the largest beverage category by volume in the United States.
According to the Beverage Marketing Corporation (BMC), total bottled water volume grew from 11.8 billion gallons in 2015 to 12.8 billion gallons in 2016, an increase of nearly 9 percent. This marked the third year in a row of accelerating growth.
The continued increase in per capita consumption indicates that consumers see bottled water as a healthy alternative to other packaged beverages. Consistent with this view, sales revenues for the U.S. bottled water market in 2016 were nearly $16 billion in wholesale dollars, a 7.4% increase over the previous year.
Nearly all of the bottled water sold in the U.S. is sourced domestically. In fact, imported bottled water accounts for only 1% 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.