Carbonated soft drinks (CSDs) have long been the top seller in the U.S. beverage market based on volume. Last month, however, New York-based Beverage Marketing Corporation (BMC) announced that U.S. volume sales of bottled water eclipsed CSDs in 2016, making it the No. 1 consumed packaged beverage. This shift followed more than a decade’s worth of single-digit volume declines for soft drinks.
“The category continues to struggle,” says Gary Hemphill, managing director of research at BMC. “Volume declined for the 12th year in a row in 2016, and we believe more declines are ahead. The category has seen declines mostly in the range of 1 to 2 percent annually over the last decade. While consumers still like and enjoy carbonated soft drinks, they are increasingly opting for alternatives.”