by Breck on Nov 4, 2009 at 5:55 PM
Filed in News
Apparently some analysts consider bottled water sales a "leading economic indicator."

Hope of UK recovery springs from rising sales of bottled water

Published Date: 04 November 2009

The thirst for bottled water is returning, with analysts suggesting it is a sign of recovery. As the ultimate discretionary purchase, bottled water sales have suffered in recent years, as recession-hit consumers reverted to tap water.

However, new research from analysts Mintel reveals that, as consumer confidence returns, so is the popularity of bottled water. Jonny Forsyth, Mintel senior drinks analyst, said: "Consumer confidence is inextricably linked with bottled water consumption. When the decline in confidence began in late 2007, bottled water became one of the easiest products for cautious consumers to sacrifice.

"At around 250 times cheaper than bottled water, tap water suddenly seemed a much more sensible option.

"However, with consumer confidence rising over recent months, consumers have started to loosen their purse strings and bottled water has been one of the beneficiaries."

The bottled water market more than doubled its sales between 1997 and 2007 to reach 2.5 billion litres. However, as consumer confidence dropped, worsened by wet summers, volume sales in the UK fell by 11 per cent between 2006 and 2008.

Environmental criticism added to predictions that the market was in terminal decline.

However, Mintel's research shows the decline in sales slowed to just 1 per cent last year, with the British drinking 2.3 billion litres of bottled water in a market worth £1.9 billion.

Mintel expects growth from 2011 onwards and a return to sales of 2.5 billion litres a year by 2014. Nonetheless, said Mintel, only one in ten UK consumers consider bottled water to offer value for money.

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