How much bottled water does America buy at Walmart?

2 weeks ago by Joshua Fruhlinger in Facts

Put your head around this stat: Of the 15 types of bottled water that Walmart ($NYSE:WMT), America's largest retailer, sells, every single one of them ranks in the top-100 products sold at the big-box store.

In other words, of the 26,000 product sales ranks that we've tracked every day since 2015, every iteration of bottled water — 12 packs, 32-packs, 1.5-liter singles of luxury water from Fiji ($FIJIWATER-3) — each one is a best-seller.

That's a lot of bottled water being sold — and a lot of plastic bottles heading to recycling and waste centers. Here are all the iterations of bottled water sold at Walmart and their respective average sales ranks since 2015:

Name

Category Rank (Average)

Sam's Choice Purified Drinking Water, Mini Size, 12 Count

3.83

Sam's Choice Purified Water, 10 Fl Oz, 12 Count

5.15

Sam'S Choice Purified Water, 10 Fl Oz, 12 Count

5.42

Sam's Choice Purified Drinking Water, 10 fl oz, 12 pack

7.54

Aquafina® Water 32-16.9 fl. oz. Bottles

11.13

Arrowhead 100% Mountain Spring Water, 8 fl oz, 12 count

16.58

Nestle Pure Life Purified Water, 24 CT (Pack of 1)

37.90

Aquafina Water 16.9 fl oz/32pk

38.49

Nestle Pure Life Pure Life Purified Water, 24 CT (Pack of 1)

49.61

Nestle Bottled Spring Water NLE101243

56.58

Fiji Natural Artesian Water, 1.5 l

60.22

Ozarka 100% Natural Spring Water, 0.5 l, 24 ct

70.37

Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water, 8 Fl Oz, 12 Ct

88.86

Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water, Pink Grapefruit, 8.4 Fl Oz, 10 Count

95.35

ARROWHEAD 100% Mountain Spring Water 12-8 fl. oz. Bottles

97.43

Of the items, Sam's Choice — Walmart's in-house brand — takes the top four spots of most-sold bottled-water products. The most popular is "Sam's Choice Purified Drinking Water, Mini Size, 12 Count". The second and third most popular items are nearly identical 10-ounce versions that sell for just $2 for a dozen bottles of water. It's no surprise, then, that this is a popular item given its price (just 2 cents per bottle of water).

Other top water brands include Aquafina, which is owned by PepsiCo ($NASDAQ:PEP), and Nestle ($VTX:NESN) Pure Life.

In 2017, bottled water sales grew to 13.7 billion gallons, a 7% increase over 2016, totaling sales of $18.5 billion, an increase of 8.8% year over year. It is estimated that America's per-capita consumption of bottled water is now more than 42 gallons (more than any other beverage).

According to "Ban the Bottle", an organization advocating for the ban of one-time-use plastic water bottles, the average American uses 167 disposable water bottles per year, and that number is rising. Americans used about 50 billion water bottles last year alone.

Beverage industry advocates point out that the bottled water industry is making efforts to minimize its impact, noting that some companies use 100% recycled rPET plastic for their bottles, and that the current curbside recycling rate for bottled water containers in the us stands at an impressive 53.85%.

Statistics and environmental politics aside, it's clear: shoppers love buying bottled water, and one has to ask how necessary bottled-water consumption really is. In some part of America, it's arguably necessary to buy bottled water due to local water supply quality. But for the rest of us, one has to ask: are we buying too much bottled water?

Joshua Fruhlinger

Joshua has been writing about technology, lifestyle, and business for over 20 years. He's one of the original writers and editors for Engadget, and still writes a...

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