Consumer thirst for bottled water is stronger than ever, American survey finds

Almost 9 in 10 Americans (88 per cent) say they have a positive opinion of bottled water as a beverage choice, according to a new national survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults aged 18 and older conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA). 

More than 4 in 5 Americans (83 per cent) say water (any type, from any source) is among their most preferred beverage, and bottled water (still and/or sparkling, unflavoured and/or flavoured) is among their most preferred non-alcoholic beverages, at 65 per cent compared to coffee at 63 per cent and soft drinks (regular and/or diet) at 58 per cent.

Water in PET bottles preferred choice

Just over 9 in 10 Americans (91 per cent) say bottled water should be available wherever other drinks are sold (unchanged from 2019 survey). Of the bottled water drinkers who have a packaging preference (83 per cent), more than 7 out of 10 (73 per cent) prefer bottled water packaged in plastic bottles (16 per cent said glass, 6 per cent said metal cans, and 4 per cent said paper cartons or box). 

If plain bottled water is not available, 70 per cent of those who identify bottled water as among their most preferred beverages said they would choose another packaged drink: soda (22 per cent), sparkling or sweetened or flavoured bottled water (10 per cent), sports drink (8 per cent), tea (7 per cent), coffee (6 per cent), juice/fruit drinks (5 per cent), functional water (5 per cent), bottled tea (4 per cent), energy drink (3 per cent). 

Among the remaining 30 per cent, a third (10 per cent) would drink from a watercooler, either using a refillable cup (5 per cent) or disposable cup (5 per cent). Ten per cent would drink filtered tap water, 6 per cent would drink unfiltered tap water, while 4 per cent would drink from a public water fountain (down from 7 per cent in 2019).

Eighty-eight per cent of Americans say they have a positive opinion of bottled water (46 per cent had “very positive” and 42 per cent saying “somewhat positive”). Only 12 per cent of people say they had a negative opinion of bottled water (10 per cent had “somewhat negative” and 2 per cent “very negative”).

This positive sentiment is up in 2022 compared to the 2019 survey when 84 per cent had a positive opinion of bottled water (41 per cent “very positive” and 43 per cent “somewhat positive”). And negative sentiment is down: 16 per cent had a negative opinion (11 per cent “somewhat” and 4 per cent “very negative”) in 2019.

Ninety-six per cent of Americans have purchased bottled water. This aligns with news that bottled water continues to be America’s No. 1 beverage, outselling soda (by volume) for the seventh year in a row in 2022, according to the Beverage Marketing Corporation (BMC).

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