US Bottled Water Sales Hit New Record High in 2011

The debate we ought to be having;  How did we come to think that plastic waste-creating individual portions of water that we have to purchase every time we’re thirsty in public became a reasonable, acceptable alternative to clean, efficient public supply of water in every building in every town and city in the nation?

Liz West/CC BY 2.0

After serious declines in 2008 and 2009 bottled water sales in the United States have bounced back, in a serious way, hitting a new record high in volume in 2011.

New figures from the the Beverage Marketing Corp. (h/t National Geographic) show that bottled water sales were up 4.1% last year, versus just a 0.9% increase in bottled drink sales in general.

In 2011 Americans purchased 9.1 billion gallons of bottled water. Per capita consumption reached a new peak of 29.2 gallons (it was 18.2 gallons per person about a decade ago). The overwhelming majority (96%) of bottled water purchased in the US came from domestic sources.

All of that water didn’t add up to record sales however, as the major bottled water companies have been cutting prices through the Great Recession. 2011 revenue hit $21.7 billion, below the still record high of 2007.

The US remains the largest consumer of bottled water in the world, with China and Mexico in the second and third spots.


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