Carbonates have historically led global soft drinks consumption but, according to Canadean’s latest forecasts, 2015 will see packaged water overtake carbonates.

A recent report from the beverage analyst predicts that packaged water will overtake global carbonated soft drinks consumption, reaching over 233bn litres in 2015, while CSDs are expected to grow at a slower pace to around 227bn litres. Back in 2010, the global population consumed only 170bn litres of packaged water, compared to 215bn litres of carbonates.

"The speed at which packaged water is growing is evident," says Canadean analyst Fiona Baillie. "Asia and West Europe already have packaged water consumption levels above those of carbonates and, this year, East Europe is set to join them."

Top Ten Global Packaged Water Country Ranking (in volume terms), 2015F v 2020F (% share)

Canadean’s research also shows that emerging countries will be the main growth driver in the future, while western countries with traditionally-high packaged water consumption will slip down the growth rankings.

Germany, Italy, France and Spain are forecast to see a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of merely 1% between 2015 and 2020, compared to 21% in India, 12% in China and 8% in Brazil. However, the US is predicted to keep its second place ranking in volume terms, as consumers continue to shift to packaged water consumption due to health concerns.

The report predicts that China and India will account for around 50% of the world’s additional packaged water consumption in 2020, consuming around 45bn litres more between them than in 2015. "With nearly one-third of the world’s population residing in these countries, the impact is significant," Bailie notes. "Packaged water is often necessary in areas susceptible to flooding or other natural occurrences, as these often lead to water contamination and the spread of diseases."

Due to higher temperatures and poor piped water infrastructure, ‘on-the-go’ hydration is becoming a key part of daily life in Asia. "India has seen a strong growth in 1-litre bottles in rural markets, as locals perceive them as having good value per serving and being easy to transport," Bailie says.

The expansion of retail in bus terminals and train stations is the key to India’s strong ‘on-the-go’ consumption. "It assimilates packaged water, namely 1-litre bottles, into the process of travelling and establishes it as the norm for all types of consumers," she concludes.