ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- According to the International Bottled Water Association here, 63% of Americans surveyed will consume bottled water this summer.
Bottled water sales continue to surge, and retailers stand to gain sales during the parched summer months to come -- and beyond.
According to statistics from Information Resources Inc., Chicago, the bottled water category surpassed $2 billion in sales for the 52-week period ended April 22, 2001, posting a 17.8% increase across channels.
Stephen Kay, vice president of communications for the IBWA, told SN that the retail segment, as opposed to home and office delivery, is the fastest-growing segment of the water industry, with sales up 30%.
Kay attributes the category's popularity to growing consumer awareness regarding the importance of hydration.
"People today are aware that nutritional experts recommend eight glasses a day," he said.
While consumers may know what's good for them, the survey -- conducted by Wirthlin Worldwide, a market research firm out of McClean, Va. -- indicates a certain level of nutritional negligence among certain segments of the population.
While one in three women were likely to drink bottled water at home or outdoors, only one out of four men said the same. A full 40% of respondents under the age of 35 claimed to drink bottled water. For those between the ages of 35 and 54, the number was 28%.
The hot months offer additional merchandising opportunities in conjunction with outdoor activities, yet Kay advised retailers to keep the segment in mind throughout the year.
"Water is not a summer phenomenon," said Kay. "Hydration is important year-round. Don't pull it off the endcap as soon as fall hits."
Kay recommended cross merchandising water as a supplemental or alternative beverage choice.
"If you sell alcohol, make water available as an option, or even as a mixer. People also cook with water. Something as basic as water holds a lot of opportunity."