15 May 2023UpdateWhat even is this?Bottled water gets a rebrand

The internet has strong opinions about bottled water. Americans have a penchant for the flavoured kind, and the collective bottled water curiosity is taking over socials with TikTok videos tagged #flavoredwater having over 404 million views that are spearheading bottled water's cult status.

J’Nae PhillipsJ'Nae Phillips is an Insights Editor at Canvas8. After an early career working in fashion and media, her passion for culture and journalism grew and she made the transition to writing and editing full-time. Outside of Canvas8, she can be found writing for her style-focused newsletter or adding to her growing book collection.

Mermaid, birthday cake, fuzzy navel, salted caramel apple, orange creamsicle… the list goes on. You'd be forgiven for thinking that these flavours were part of a lineup at a candy store, but these bold tastes are actually bottled water concoctions that are quenching many people's thirst for something a little different.

America is the largest global market for bottled water with revenue expected to reach approximately $95 billion in 2023, and since 2016 bottled water has surpassed soft drinks as Americans’ most-purchased packaged beverage and it continues to come out on top.

As consumers take stock of their health and wellbeing they are avoiding sugary beverages and are instead turning to bottled water, with tapping into uniqueness and aesthetic appeal a popular strategy for brands that want to stand out in a saturated market.

Bottled water is now a mainstay in culture and online content and some would argue it's even become a lifestyle. In the bottled water sphere, it's the daring, the bold, the OTT and the unusual products that are standing out in the minds of consumers, and it's the unconventional that keeps them coming back for more.

Three key insights:
- 72% of Americans drink both bottled water and tap or filtered water with 19% drinking only bottled water, and 84% have a positive opinion of bottled water.
- 70% of American adults cited taste as a deciding factor when choosing what bottled water brand to buy, followed by price (61%), convenience (49%) and source (38%).
- One in 4 Gen Zers and 27% of Gen Yers buy water at least once a day, compared with 17% of Gen Xers and 9% of Boomers.

Extended reading:
💦 WaterTok is the latest trend making the rounds on TikTok, and hacking water are leading many niche influencers to find online fame and sell out associated products.
🫧 Are emotional support water bottles a thing? Well, according to one Tiktoker drinking flavoured water out of one makes the experience a whole lot better.
🫶🏼 Bottled water growth can be attributed to an increasing consumer focus on health and wellbeing, and a demand for flavoured and functional water.

This was spotted on The Long Read, our monthly newsletter showcasing bite-sized cultural analysis of the newest (and strangest!) behaviours we’ve been tracking at Canvas8 – sign up here.