Beverage analyst Zenith International said that rising standards of living within the region, as well as greater consumer awareness of the need for health and hydration, were key factors in the increasing demand. Along with increased consumption levels, the also report found that the growing presence of international players in the region had helped drive consumer demand away from the dominant sparkling water brands to new product launches. For the study, Zenith focused on fifteen national markets in the region, including Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine. Zenith's research director Gary Roethenbaugh said that each of these markets has posted strong growth during the year, highlighting the strong potential for the region as a whole. "Volumes have jumped by an impressive 71 per cent since 2001 and we believe they will climb 34 per cent more over the next five years," he stated. Of these national markets, Zenith said that Hungary showed the highest amount Poland remained the region's largest and most established market for bottled water, with sales up 23 per cent despite mixed fortunes for the product in the country, the analyst said. The Czech Republic posted the highest per capita consumption rates of 93 litres per person. Outside of these markets, Russia, Bulgaria and Estonia offered considerable opportunities for growth, with five-year sales volume growth up to 2006 of 118 per cent, 138 per cent and 140 per cent respectively, Zenith said. Roethenbaugh added that consumer demand was continually changing over what types of bottled water were driving sales growth. "The last few years have seen significant players with strong sparkling mineral water traditions launch still or lightly sparkling variants," he stated. On the back of these companies' entry into the market, sparkling water sales have continued to improve, with the product dominating bottled water sales in ten of the fifteen regional markets, according to Zenith. However, still water's combined market share within Eastern Europe has increased to 46 per cent last year, from 32 per cent in 2001. This growth is attributed primarily to the expanding water cooler industry in the region. Not only was the development of the market found to be boosting still water volume sales, but a shift towards spring and other water types over the mineral variety was also recorded, Zenith said. As more international brands move into these markets, the analyst added that the retail market for bottled waters would become increasingly competitive. Though the research found that older consumers have continued to stay loyal to traditional sparkling mineral water brands, younger shoppers are turning to international labels.