Survey uncovers American attitudes to bottled water

3 Jan 2018

More than 3 in 5 Americans (63%) say bottled water (still and/or sparkling) is among their most preferred beverages, according to a survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA).

Survey uncovers American attitudes to bottled water

More than 3 in 5 Americans (63%) say bottled water (still and/or sparkling) is among their most preferred beverages, followed by coffee (62%), according to a new national survey. Fewer Americans (58%) say soft drinks (regular and/or diet) are among their most preferred drinks.

Nearly all Americans (94%) believe that bottled water is a healthier choice than soft drinks, and 93% say bottled water should be available wherever drinks are sold.

The survey, conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) of more than 3,000 U.S. adults aged 18 and older, also found that among those who have ever purchased bottled water, those who identify bottled water as among their most preferred beverages are more likely than those who identify soda as one of their most preferred beverages to recycle their water containers.

“This poll is consistent with consumption figures released earlier this year that show, for the first time in history, bottled water is the No.1 packaged beverage in the United States (by volume),” said Jill Culora, IBWA’s vice president of communications. “People are shifting away from less healthy packaged drinks and choosing the healthy option – bottled water.”

Bottled water drinkers find many factors important when choosing a beverage, but taste (99%), quality (99%), and safety (92%) are at the top of their list. Bottled water drinkers also say that features like ready to enjoy (82%), convenient packaging when on the go (80%), and re-sealable packaging (74%) are important to them when choosing a beverage. Sixty-nine% of bottled water drinkers say low calories are important when choosing a beverage, while 72% say the lack of artificial sweeteners is important.

Nearly all Americans (99%) drink water – tap, filtered, or bottled, and among them, 33% drink both bottled water and tap/filtered water equally. Roughly 3 in 10 water drinkers (31%) drink only/mostly bottled water, including 16% who drink mostly bottled water and 15% who only drink bottled water. Over a third (35%) drink only/mostly tap or filtered water, including 23% who drink mostly tap or filtered water, and 12% who drink only tap or filtered water.

82% of Americans agree they should drink more water and 90% believe that bottled water is a healthy and convenient beverage.

Among those who ever purchase bottled water, bottled water drinkers are more inclined to recycle their bottled water containers than those who say soda is among their most preferred beverages, as they are more likely to say they always recycle bottled water containers at home (66% vs. 60%) and away from home (37% vs. 32%). This is consistent with a 2016 PET bale analysis study that found bottled water is the number one most recycled product in curbside recycling systems, with a rate of 53.1%, compared to soda bottles, which was 20.4%. The 2016 study, by the National Association of PET Container Resources, included other food and beverage containers in its analytics.

“The new poll also found that people who own their own home report they recycle more often than renters, both at home and away from home. The poll also showed that people who were married said they recycled more often than those who were single,” said Culora.

When asked about their general opinion of bottled water as a beverage choice, 86% of Americans had a “very positive” or “somewhat positive” opinion of bottled water, and women are significantly more likely than men to have a positive opinion (88% vs. 84%) as well as adults ages 18-44 compared to those ages 55+ (91% vs. 81%). Only 14% of Americans have a “somewhat” or