Rising sales of bottled water are a sure sign that consumer confidence is returning.
So says Mintel, whose latest research shows that the popularity of what it calls “the ultimate discretionary purchase” is on the up again. And according to the company’s senior drinks analyst Jonny Forsyth: “Consumer confidence is inextricably linked with bottled water consumption.”
The bottled water market until recently was thriving, more than doubling its sales between 1997 and 2000. However, as consumer confidence fell dramatically, volume sales of water slumped by 11% between 2006 and 2008.
However, Mintel’s research shows that the decline in sales has slowed to only 1% this year. And with economic conditions expected to improve, Mintel forecasts that volume sales will start growing steadily from 2011 onwards.
“When the decline in confidence began in the latter half of 2007, bottled water became one of the easiest products for cautious consumers to sacrifice,” says Forsyth. “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.”
Nevertheless, Mintel says that only one in 10 bottled water drinkers think it is value for money, a third think it is “a bit of a con” and four in 10 think it is no healthier than tap water.
Tap water is 250 times cheaper than bottled.