When visiting the nation’s capitol last month, in addition to enjoying the museums, monuments and memorials, I couldn’t help but take notice of the popular beverage of choice on those hot July days — bottled water. Vendors carried around coolers and walked up and down the streets selling water, and tourists flocked to them.

And as of press time, the Midwest is experiencing quite a heat wave. With temperatures in the high 90s, I’ve been sure to keep myself hydrated. But hot temperatures are not the only thing affecting the bottled water market.

The United States remains the No. 1 country for bottled water consumption and saw it increase 2 percent in 2010 compared to 2009, according to Matt Wilton, commercial consulting director with Zenith International during its “Global Bottled Water – Latest Trends and Analysis” webinar last month. Wilton adds that North America’s return to growth in 2010 suggests a positive impression of 2011 bottled water sales.

Although the United States has seen this increase in sales, North America’s percentage of bottled water con-sumption has been decreasing in the last few years. In 2005, North American bottled water consumption measured 16.6 percent, according to Zenith. That percentage decreased to 14.5 percent for 2010.

However, Zenith reported global bottled water consumption increased from 175 billion liters in 2005 to 237 billion liters in 2010, with large growth coming from Asia and Australia, which make up 30.6 percent of the global total.


Wilton states that this growth is showcased with countries such as China, which reported bottled water consumption increased 13.1 percent from 2009 to 2010. Latin America also is seeing growth as Brazil’s consumption increased 13.3 percent in that same time period, according to Zenith.