Bottled Water in Eastern Europe

June 2021

In Eastern Europe, the COVID-19 pandemic did not cause any surge in sales of bottled water through off-trade channels in 2020. However, the impact on off-trade channels varied by country as preferences and consumption habits of local consumers played an important role in redistribution of sales amidst the pandemic and quarantines. On-trade channels, on the other hand, recorded a significant decline due to massive closures as a result of quarantine restrictions. Recovery is expected closer to the

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Key findings

COVID-19 did not cause any off-trade surge during the period of home seclusion and lockdowns

On a regional level, there was no spike in off-trade sales of bottled water unlike in other regions such as Western Europe. However, consumer behaviour and preferences varied across different markets which resulted in some markets slightly growing in off-trade channels while others declined notably. Also, bottled water has not yet become a staple good or a commodity in many local markets.

On-trade sales plummeted due to quarantine restrictions in 2020

Various quarantine restrictions significantly limited the work of on-trade establishments in 2020 and 2021 which resulted in a notable drop in on-trade sales of bottled water. Moreover, social fear prevented many people from visiting on-trade establishments even during the times when these places were open.

Still bottled water is gaining ground while carbonated performs well too

Over the review period and even in 2020 still bottled water has shown better performance than carbonated due to the impact of the health and wellness trend and developing drinking culture. However, carbonated bottled water also posted growth.

Functional water is gaining momentum with flavoured growing slowly

Functional bottled water has shown notable growth due to the effect of a small base, the health and wellness trend, new product launches and increasing consumer interest, while flavoured water seems to be of less interest to Eastern European consumers.

Modern grocery retailers perform better than traditional ones amidst COVID-19 times

Despite some types of outlets such as hypermarkets being less popular in 2020, modern grocery retailers, on average, performed better than traditional grocery retailers due to the convenience of their locations, wide product assortment and their better ability to adapt to social restrictions in response to COVID-19.

Off- and on-trade sales projected to resume growth

The recovery of on-trade channels and developing drinking culture, as well as increasing pressure from the health and wellness trend will stimulate future category growth.


Key findings

Regional Overview

Eastern Europe from a global perspective
Bottled water on the rise but growing slowly
Still water gains momentum but carbonated also growing
Consumer preferences vary by country
Uncertain prospects of flavoured bottled water
Functional bottled water is gaining ground
COVID-19 performance of bottled water varied across the region
Modern grocery retailers on the rise while non-store led by e-commerce
Uneven performance of distribution channels

Leading Companies and Brands

Consolidation is growing in the region
Local leaders show growth and IDS Borjomi leads in several markets
Portfolio management and brand awareness are key to success
Change of leadership in bottled water

Forecast Projections

Regional volume leaders to lead growth
Factors stimulating recovery and growth over the forecast period
Key drivers affecting category performance by country
Growth prospects are bright but barriers remain in the way

Country Snapshots

Belarus: Market context
Belarus: Competitive and retail landscape
Bosnia and Herzegovina: Market context
Bosnia and Herzegovina : Competitive and retail landscape
Bulgaria: Market context
Bulgaria : Competitive and retail landscape
Croatia: Market context
Croatia : Competitive and retail landscape
Czech Republic: Market context
Czech Republic : Competitive and retail landscape
Estonia: Market context
Estonia : Competitive and retail landscape
Georgia: Market context
Georgia : Competitive and retail landscape
Hungary: Market context
Hungary : Competitive and retail landscape
Latvia: Market context
Latvia : Competitive and retail landscape
Lithuania: Market context
Lithuania : Competitive and retail landscape
North Macedonia: Market context
North Macedonia : Competitive and retail landscape
Poland: Market context
Poland: Competitive and retail landscape
Romania: Market context
Romania: Competitive and retail landscape
Russia: Market context
Russia: Competitive and retail landscape
Serbia: Market context
Serbia: Competitive and retail landscape
Slovakia: Market context
Slovakia: Competitive and retail landscape
Slovenia: Market context
Slovenia: Competitive and retail landscape
Ukraine: Market context
Ukraine: Competitive and retail landscape


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