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Water Vital Statistics: Industry Data

(million litres)
UK waters

(million litres)
UK waters
consumed in UK

(million litres)
Source: Zenith Global

Between 1995 and 2016, the UK bottled water market (including water coolers), has grown from just 800 million litres to almost 3.2 billion litres.

The UK bottled water market is worth over £2.4 billion.
Bottled water holds a significant share of the soft drinks industry in the UK and sales in this country of locally-produced waters continue to account for an enormous proportion of the total. Total UK bottled water production stood at over 2,700 million litres in 2016. As a nation we now drink more bottled water than fruit juices/nectars, wine or spirits. The long term growth in bottled water consumption is testament, perhaps, to the now ubiquitous acceptance of the advice to drink eight glasses of water a day for optimum health.

UK bottled water consumption per person exceeded 50 litres in 2016, up from 26.9 litres in 2001. Zenith Global estimates that longer-term growth will continue, with bottled water consumption projected to reach 73 litres per person by 2021. However, compare this with Italian bottled water consumption rates, which stand at around 205 litres per person. US citizens drank an average 67 litres per head in 2002 compared with an estimated 135 litres in 2016. There is clearly considerable room for growth in the UK market.

Consumer demands have driven the main packaging developments in recent years. There continues to be a considerable increase in the purchase of 50cl PET (both multipack and single serve) and 2 litre PET formats. Alongside this, growth in water coolers, predominantly in 18 litre polycarbonate sizes, continued in 2016. In 2010 for the first time the UK Government’s Office of National Statistics included bottled water as an item in the standard shopping basket.

Still and Sparkling Water

Sales of still water continue to out-strip sparkling water. From around 30% of total bottled water volume in 1998, sparkling water's share has since more than halved, with still water now accounting for around 85%. Sparkling water has stabilised its share of the market at around 15%.

Types of Bottled Water

The latest (2016) figures from Zenith Global show a breakdown by type of packaged bottled water as follows:

  • Natural Mineral Water accounts for 45% of the UK market
  • Spring Water accounts for 40%
  • Bottled drinking waters (ie. so-called ‘table’ waters) account for 15%


Volume of bottled
water consumed in UK
(including water coolers)


Volume of bottled
water consumed in UK
(including water coolers)


Volume of bottled
water consumed in UK
(including water coolers)

1976   20 m litres
1980   30 m litres
1990   420 m litres
1991   480 m litres
1992   520 m litres
1993   580 m litres
1994   700 m litres
1995   800 m litres
1996   795 m litres
1997   900 m litres
1998   990 m litres
1999   1.2 b litres
2000   1.42 b litres
2001   1.59 b litres
2002   1.76 b litres
2003   2.07 b litres
2004   2.06 b litres
2005   2.14 b litres
2006   2.21 b litres
2007   2.10 b litres
2008   2.00 b litres
2009   2.01 b litres
2010   2.02 b litres
2011   2.07 b litres
2012   2.14 b litres
2013   2.40 b litres
2014   2.60 b litres
2015   2.90 b litres
2016   3.20 b litres
We are grateful to Zenith Global & ACNielsen except where otherwise indicated for data provision..
Source: Zenith Global

Some facts about bottled water:

  • In the UK we drink five times as much tea as bottled water, although the gap between the two beverages is closing (2009).
  • We drink almost three times as much beer as bottled water but the gap is narrowing (2009).
  • UK bottled water production stood at more than 2.7 billion litres in 2016.
  • UK bottled water exports amounted to 125 million litres in 2016 – an increase compared with the previous year.

The trend towards healthy eating and drinking means that more people are buying bottled water. We're mostly made of water. Water is life-giving and vital.

In the UK we now buy more than 2 billion litres a year. As we consume more water many people naturally want to know that the water they drink is free from unwanted additives; they want to identify the source of the water; and more and more Britons want to avoid unnecessary ‘food miles’.

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