July 11, 2015

Bottled Water Statistics: 23 Outrageous Facts

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Bottled water holds the 2nd largest share of the beverage market in the U.S., ahead of milk and beer. The only thing Americans guzzle down more than bottled water is soda, which is consumed about twice as often.

© Steven Depolo (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

Drinking water packs plenty of health benefits, but if you prefer the kind that comes in plastic bottles, your wallet may be experiencing some negative side effects. Experts have argued that buying bottled water is 2,000 times more expensive than drinking it straight from the tap. If you've never taken the time to add up what your water habit is costing you or you're curious about how much others are spending on bottled water, here are some numbers that just might shock you.

BOTTLED WATER SALES

The bottled water industry has steadily expanded over the last few decades and it shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. For the first part of our study, we focused exclusively on the sales figures to see how much revenue bottled water brings in and how many units are sold each year.

1. How much do Americans spend annually on bottled water?
Americans have few qualms about the cost of bottled water, spending approximately $12.3 billion to stay hydrated in 2013. It's expected that the once the final sales figures for 2014 are complete, the total should top $13 billion.

2. What's the average cost of bottled water?
As of 2013, a gallon of bottled water cost $1.21, based on the wholesale price. At the retail level, the price can vary from $1.57 to more than $8 per gallon.

3. How many bottles of water are sold each year?
Americans purchase approximately 42.6 billion individual 1-liter bottles of water each year. Globally, people go through roughly 200 billion plastic water bottles annually.

4. What does the individual consumer spend on average?
On average, Americans spend about $100 per person each year on bottled water. For larger households, the cost can easily add up to several hundred dollars each year.

5. How many cases of bottled water are sold annually?
Many Americans prefer to buy their bottled water in bulk, purchasing an estimated 2.6 billion cases each year.

6. What's the global bottled water industry worth?
As of 2013, bottled water sales worldwide topped $117 billion, with experts predicting annual revenues to increase to $195 billion by 2018.

7. What's the most expensive bottled water brand?
If you're looking for a high-end way to quench your thirst, you'll need a cool $60,000 to buy a bottle of Acqua di Cristallo. The water, which is sourced from France and Fiji, comes in a 24-karat solid gold bottle, and it even contains a small sprinkling of gold dust.

8. Where do consumers buy their bottled water?
The majority of Americans, nearly 58%, get their bottled water at big name retailers, dollar stores, or online. Another 25% pick theirs up at the grocery store while 4.5% prefer to make their purchases at convenience stores and 2.8% shop at the drugstore. The remaining 10% get their water from vending machines or restaurants.

BOTTLED WATER CONSUMPTION

Bottled water consumption is on the rise, not only in the U.S. but throughout the world. To get an idea of just how much water we're drinking, we took a look at consumption levels at home and abroad.

9. How much bottled water does the average person consume?
In the U.S., the average person downs about 31.8 gallons of bottled water each year. Between 2012 and 2013, per capita consumption jumped by 3.3%.

10. What's the total U.S. consumption rate?
In 2013, Americans consumed a total of 10.1 billion gallons of bottled water, a jump of 4.7% over 2012.

11. How much does consumption increase each year?
Bottled water's popularity continues to grow, with the average annual consumption increasing by an average 9.5% annually between 1976 and 2013.

12. How many bottles of water are consumed each second?
Americans go through a startling amount of bottled water each day, breaking down to around 1,500 bottles consumed every second. That adds up to 90,000 every hour and nearly 2.2 million each day.

13. How much bottled water is consumed globally?
Total global bottled water consumption topped 76 billion gallons in 2012, up from 61 billion gallons in 2011.

14. Which country drinks the most bottled water?
Despite the fact that Americans drink a staggering amount of bottled water, it's actually Mexico that has the highest per capita consumption rate. In 2013, Mexico residents chugged down more than 186 liters of bottled water per person.

BOTTLED WATER PRODUCTION

Bottled water is produced all over the world, but some locations are preferred above others by manufacturers. We were interested in which brands lead bottled water production and what the main sources are.

15. Which bottled water brand is the most popular?
In the U.S., the number one preferred brand of bottled water is Aquafina, which accounts for a 13% share of the market. Dasani comes in second with 11% of total sales.

16. Where does bottled water come from?
While about 55% of the bottled water brands draw their products from natural springs, it's estimated that as much as 45% of the water that's available in the supermarket aisles is the same as what you can get from the tap.

17. Which state produces the most bottled water?
Despite being plagued by persistent drought conditions, California is actually the nation's leading producer of bottled water. More than two-thirds of the country's bottled water sources are found here.

18. How much bottled water is imported?
The majority of bottled water sold in the U.S. is produced domestically; only about 1.5% of what's available in stores is imported from other countries.

BOTTLED WATER AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Water is a valuable natural resource, and much has been made about the impact that bottled water production and consumption have on their environment. To conclude our research, we considered just how eco-friendly bottled water is.

19. How many water bottles end up in landfills each year?
It's estimated that around 80% of the plastic water bottles purchased by Americans end up in landfills. That's about 60 million bottles that are tossed out every day.

20. How much gets recycled?
While recycling rates for plastic bottles and other plastic products is slowly increasing, there's still room for improvement. Although approximately 800,000 tons of plastic bottles were recycled in 2011, more than twice as much was trashed or littered alongside roadways and in water supplies.

21. How much water is needed to make bottled water?
It takes about 1.39 liters of water to make 1 liter of bottled water, which means that a substantial amount of H2O goes down the drain during production. That doesn't include the amount of water that's used to make the bottles themselves.

22. How much petroleum is used to make plastic water bottles?
Bottled water production also takes a toll on the world's oil supply, with one study estimating that it takes as much as 50 million barrels of oil to produce plastic water bottles each year.

23. How long does it take a plastic water bottle to biodegrade?
Bottled water can also impact the environment in other ways. It's estimated that it takes as long as 450 years for a single plastic bottle to biodegrade.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Despite claims that bottled water is draining from both an economic and environmental standpoint, its popularity hasn't waned. If you're a diehard water-drinker, investing in a quality filtration system and reusable bottle can cut down on how much you're spending. And, you'll be helping out Mother Earth in the process.

Sources and References:

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