Consumption of water drinks rose by 7% to reach 4,267m litres, according to Zenith Global’s 2019 Water Drinks Report. Sales of plain bottled water in retail packs increased by 7.9% to 3.4bn litres, while sales of flavoured, functional and juicy waters rose by 7.2%.
The UK experienced the warmest summer on record in 2018, helping boost bottled water sales.
The UK's Soft Drinks Industry Levy (which came into effect in April 2018) appears to have had a limited effect the category: with most manufacturers of potentially affected products (such as those in the flavored or functional category) reformulating to avoid the tax.
Challenges for the category, however, come from pressure to improve the environmental footprint.
Plain bottled water accounts for around 87% of the market, with functional and flavoured waters accounting for 12%.
Zenith Global predicts the market will continue to grow robustly, but at a slower pace than in recent years. Its forecasts to 2023 suggest an upward trend of 3-5% a year.
“Debate about plastic and recycling are likely to remain centre stage and we expect to see more packaging from alternative materials becoming mainstream,” said Robin Bell, Senior Consultant, Zenith Global.