Americans Now Prefer Bottled Water to Soda

On a per capita basis, Americans consumed an average of 39 gallons of bottled water compared to 38.5 gallons of carbonated soft drinks.

Consumption of bottled water across the US reached 39.3 gallons per capita in 2016, while carbonated drinks dropped to just 38.5 gallons.

This could be a result of Americans trying to become healthier, but it could also be the result of new sugary-beverage taxes and smaller packaging. "As the ultimate portable and affordable beverage, bottled water spawned new usage occasions and habits".

"Bottled water effectively reshaped the beverage marketplace", Michael C. Bellas, Beverage Marketing's CEO said in a statement.

The company says Americans bought 12.8 billion gallons of bottled water in 2016, up close to 9% over 2015. Beverage Marketing Corp. projected that bottled water would hit the 50-gallon mark by the middle of next decade. Where once it would have been unimaginable to see Americans walking down the street carrying plastic bottles of water, or driving around with them in their cars' cup holders, now that's the norm. However, soda still generated more revenue of $39.5 billion in retail sales past year, compared to $21.3 billion for water. The largest bottled water brands by volume is Nestle PureLife, followed by Coca-Cola-owned Dasani and PepsiCo's Aquafina, according to Beverage Digest. But that cost was artificially deflated by including gallon and multi-gallon jugs, even though two-thirds of bottled water is sold in single-serve bottles, where the cost of a gallon of bottled water could be nearly 2,000 times that of a gallon of tap water. An industry report in 2013 said consumers were spending 300 times the cost of tap water to drink bottled water. 'Bottled water is the marketing trick of the century, ' John Jewell wrote in The Week in 2014.