Bottled Water Market Share Volume Holds Steady in 2009 Despite Poor Economic Conditions

International Bottled Water Association | IMMEDIATE RELEASE | May 13, 2010

Bottled Water Market Share Volume Holds Steady in 2009 Despite Poor Economic Conditions

ALEXANDRIA, VA – The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), in conjunction with Beverage Marketing Corporation (BMC) today released 2009 bottled water statistics, compiled by BMC, a research, consulting, and financial services firm dedicated to the global beverage industry ( The new BMC data shows the bottled water category’s overall share of the liquid refreshment beverages marketplace held steady at approximately 29.2% in 2009. The overall consumption of bottled water has dropped slightly, by 2.5%, but the rate of decline is less than the decline of total U.S. refreshment beverage market, which dropped 2.7% in 2009. Given the continued poor U.S. economic situation, the bottled water industry is happy to hold its own against other packaged beverages.

In 2009, total bottled water consumption was 8.45 billion gallons, a 2.5% decrease compared to 2008’s figure of 8.66 billion gallons. Overall in 2009, the entire U.S. refreshment beverage category fell by 2.7%, the second consumption downturn in two years. Analysts attribute the drop primarily to a major U.S. recession, also in its second year. Consumption of carbonated soft drinks fell by 2.3% while sports drinks as a category declined by 12.3%. Packaged fruit beverages fell by 2.0%. Recently-launched flavored and vitamin-added bottled water saw an 8.8% decline. Energy drinks did advance 0.2%, while ready-to-drink bottled teas saw a 1.2% gain, the only category gains recorded in 2009.

According to Michael C. Bellas, chairman and CEO of BMC, “Although 2009 was the second year in a row of unusual weakness in liquid refreshment beverages’ performance, the worst may be over.” “Beverages are likely to be one of the first categories to benefit with a job-led economic recovery because they represent an inexpensive form of pleasure,” he continued.

Bottled water’s 29.2% market share in 2009 of the liquid refreshment beverage category is up from 2008’s volume share of 29.1%. “During these tough economic times, consumers have trimmed discretionary spending,” said Tom Lauria, Vice President of Communications for IBWA, “but bottled water sales decreased less than most other major categories. Subsequently, we now enjoy steady market share as consumers chose bottled water over other packaged beverages.”

Lauria added: “The faltering economy has packaged beverage sales down across the board. Some industry watchers have also wondered how much, if any, increased activism on the alleged environmental impact of bottled water is a possible reason for the drop. However, there has been a notable decrease in sales of nearly all packaged beverages including steep drops in many packaged beverage products that activists never discuss or protest. Meanwhile, there’s plenty of evidence that this recession is taking its toll on all forms of consumer spending. Bottled water is well-established and popular with consumers who rely on its convenience, healthfulness and refreshing taste.”

Consumers should also know that bottled water safety and quality result from multiple layers of regulation and standards at the federal, state and industry levels.

“Consumers must also be made aware of the bottled water industry’s outstanding record of environmental stewardship, protection, and sustainability,” IBWA’s Lauria concluded. “Bottled water containers are 100 percent recyclable. Although bottled water makes up only 1/3 of one percent of the U.S. waste stream, according to the EPA, the bottled water industry works hard on a number of fronts with recycling advocates, communities, and our beverage and food partners to increase recycling rates. The bottled water industry is also at the forefront utilizing measures to reduce our environmental footprint In the past eight years, bottled water companies have reduced the weight of PET resin plastic single-serve bottles by 32%. That is the equivalent of removing one out of three bottled water containers from the waste stream.

Bottled water is a packaged food product that is comprehensively regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is subject to stringent standards for safety, quality, production, labeling, and identity. Along with the FDA’s Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), which are required of all foods, bottled water must comply with several other applicable regulations, including a Standard of Identity, Standards of Quality and additional, specific bottled water GMPs. Being a packaged food product, bottled water is also bound by the full range of FDA protective measures designed to enforce product safety and protect consumers. States can also regulate bottled water inspections, sampling, analyzing and approving bottled water sources, and testing laboratory certification. As part of the IBWA Bottled Water Code of Practice, IBWA members voluntarily utilize the principles of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) for a science-based approach to bottled water production and safety. FDA recognizes HACCP as a key component of food safety and consumer protection.

For an overview of bottled water regulations and standards, environmental facts, and other bottled water information, visit the IBWA web site at

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Tom Lauria
703-647-4609 or 703-887-4056 (cell)

The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) is the authoritative source of information about all types of bottled waters, including spring, mineral, purified, artesian, and sparkling. Founded in 1958, IBWA’s membership includes U.S. and international bottlers, distributors and suppliers. IBWA is committed to working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates bottled water as a packaged food product, to set comprehensive and stringent standards for safe, high-quality bottled water products.  

In addition to FDA regulations, IBWA member bottlers must adhere to the IBWA Bottled Water Code of Practice, which mandates additional standards and practices that in some cases are more stringent than federal and state regulations. A key feature of the IBWA Bottled Water Code of Practice is a mandatory annual plant inspection by an independent, third-party organization.  

IBWA is proud to be a partner with Keep America Beautiful and a supporter of Drink Up, an initiative of former First Lady Michelle Obama and the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), which encourages Americans to drink more water more often – whether from the tap, a filter, or in a bottle. Choosing water is always the healthy choice.