An AC Nielson survey in April 2008 showed that still water had a 9.9% market share of non-alcoholic ready-to-drink products, with mineral waters having a further 2.2% share. Bottled water was one of the fastest growing beverages over the previous six years with average growth of 10% per annum.
A study on trends in purchasing patterns of non-alcoholic beverages in Australia from 1997 to 2006 showed that sales of packaged still water increased from 107 to 279 million litres, a growth of 162% over 10 years. This represented an increase from 23 to 46 L per person per year over this period.
According to consumer research conducted for the Australasian Bottled Water Institute, the heaviest consumers of packaged water were younger single people and younger couples, particularly females aged between 14 and 35 years. This research found that consumption was driven by concerns about health and wellbeing, but also by social trends.
By 2009, packaged water held between 14 and 17 per cent of the non-alcoholic drinks market, up from six per cent in 1999. Australia produced 582.9 million litres of packaged water in 2009-10. However, there was also increasing criticism about the environmental impact of plastic bottles. The NSW town of Bundanoon gained considerable publicity when it banned sales of bottled water.
While IBIS research says that the market has continued to increase, with an average growth of 3.7% between 2010 and 2015, Roy Morgan figures would suggest a slow-down. According to Morgan, in the year to March 2011, 15% of the Australian population consumed bottled water in an average week compared to 19% in March 2006. The same study showed that the average number of glasses consumed in a weekly period by bottled water drinkers had also declined from 8.2 to 5.9, a 37% decline in the total volume consumed in an average week.
Australians still drink far less bottled water per capita than those in other western nations – well behind Mexico, Italy, Belgium, Germany, France and Spain.