As summer temperatures steadily rise, so does the outlook for the bottled water market.
Many beverage industry analysts and marketers anticipate that bottled water will soon become the dominant non-alcohol beverage. Health and wellness concerns, the fitness fad and the perennial struggle of overweight consumers have combined to make bottled water the zero-calorie/ultra-low calorie beverage of choice for millions of Americans, according to market research publisher Rockville, Md.-based Packaged Facts in the report “Bottled Water in the U.S.”
However, the market for bottled water also is being roiled by a number of disruptive forces, even in the midst of this generally upbeat view of the bottled water category, the market research firm says. For one thing, as supermarkets stock their shelves with still bottled water, simply competing on the basis of volume and price no longer seems to make sense to marketers of major brands, the report states. Plain bottled water also faces determined resistance from consumers who rationalize their lack of enthusiasm by asserting that it "just has no flavor."
To entice consumers to pay a premium for bottled water and thus add value and boost profits in their bottled water businesses, marketers are launching new products with bold colors, exotic flavoring and fashion-forward packaging, the market research firm says. Brand owners also are hurrying to bring to market a wider range of water enhancers, a category. Packaged in small, convenient, portable, squeezable containers, water enhancers allow users to customize the intensity of the flavoring in otherwise plain water, the company adds. Water enhancers are especially geared toward meeting the expectations of millennials, who have grown up accustomed to getting what they want the way they want it and when they want it, Packaged Facts notes.
Water enhancers have the potential to play a significant role on bottled water sales. According to a marketing executive with the Atlanta-based The Coca-Cola Co.’s Dasani brand, about 20 percent of households buying bottled water also buy liquid water enhancers. Packaged Facts' April/May 2014 consumer survey found that 35 percent of respondents who had purchased bottled water in the past four weeks also bought a water enhancer such as MiO, Dasani Drops, Powerade Zero Drops, Aquafina FlavorSplash, Crystal Light Liquid or Minute Maid Drops. As liquid water enhancers multiply in terms of numbers and innovative characteristics, they are likely to advance the bottom lines of major beverage marketers, the company says.
“Bottled Water in the U.S.” highlights the challenges facing marketers of bottled water and analyzes their strategic responses in an increasingly competitive landscape. The report also highlights trends shaping the market for bottled water; provides an estimate of U.S. retail sales of bottled still and sparkling waters as well as 2018 U.S. retail sales projections; identifies marketing and new product trends; and provides an in-depth look at today's bottled water consumers.