Report: European bottled water market continues to outperform soft drinks

Research and Markets has added West Europe Bottled Water Report 2004, a segment that enjoyed double-digit growth in 2003, to its market demographic offerings. Since 2000, none of the 16 West European countries covered in the report have recorded a decline in bottled water consumption. However, this pattern is set to change in 2004. A disappointing summer across many European countries has dampened sales compared to the strong performance in 2003...

Nov 10th, 2004

DUBLIN, Ireland, Nov. 9, 2004 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Research and Markets has announced the addition of West Europe Bottled Water Report 2004 to its market demographic offerings.

The European bottled water market registered double digit growth in 2003. The benefits of a long, hot and enduring summer are plain to see. Since 2000, none of the 16 West European countries covered in the report have recorded a decline in bottled water consumption. However, this pattern is set to change in 2004. A disappointing summer across many European countries has dampened sales, particularly when compared to the strong performance made in 2003. This has reaffirmed the importance of the weather on consumption habits.

A notable feature of market development in recent years has been the ability of the larger markets to maintain growth when maturity and stagnation might have been expected. It is clear that enduring hot and dry weather benefits even the most mature of bottled water markets. The ability of the higher per capita countries to overcome more inclement weather conditions remains to be seen. Indeed, to some extent 2004 is becoming a crucial and pivotal year for European bottled water. High consuming countries such as Italy and France are expected to register a longer term growth potential. However, interim growth figures for 2004 indicate that some contraction could occur before a steady growth path is pursued. At the same time, low per capita, faster growing countries, such as Ireland and the UK, are expected to maintain above average growth rates in the medium term.

The European bottled water industry faces many challenges ahead. Recycling and packaging regulation remain a controversial area. This is particularly the case in Germany where the country's deposit on one-way packaging has reshaped the local industry. Promotional activity by mainstream retailers and value driven discounters should see price depreciation spread further. All consumers are of course increasingly influenced by price. Yet, bottled water volume growth should be fuelled by consumer awareness of the health benefits of water, in addition to concerns over the quality of tap water. As lifestyles become more hectic, a bottle of water is, more and more often, perceived as a calorie free, refreshing beverage that can be picked up whilst on the move.

As consumers embrace the convenient hydration message that bottled water confers, the European bottled water market continues to outperform soft drinks as a whole. These remain challenging yet exciting times for bottled water.

The West Europe Bottled Water Report 2004 is broken down into three main sections:
1. A full West Europe market commentary provides in-depth analysis of trends in such areas as industry structure, segment dynamics and forecasts.
2. Comprehensive tables and charts interrogate the West European bottled water market looking into -- consumption trends to 2003, country rankings, sparkling and still water, bottled vs. bulk water, types of packaging, leading companies, and forecasts of consumption to 2008.
3. Sixteen country profiles contain expert market interpretation, tables and charts.

For more information visit www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/c8943.

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