Bottled water posted positive sales growth in 2020, although growth rates slowed down in comparison with 2019. The main reasons for the category’s positive performance during the year were the warm weather that prevailed during summer and the positive impact of the quarantine lockdown, social distancing and home seclusion on demand in the retail channel.
Although 2020 saw a deceleration in on-trade volume growth in bottled water, growth rates remained positive as the heatwave that swept across Tunisia during early summer and the desire to stay hydrated as a key aspect of staying healthy and being able to fight off the COVID-19 virus balanced out the negative impact of the quarantine lockdown. In particular, the lockdown involved the government-mandated closure of all consumer foodservice outlets throughout Tunisia for up to three months and even after restaurants, bars, cafés and tea rooms were permitted to open again, they were only allowed to operate at 50% capacity in order to comply with social distancing protocols.
2020 proved a challenging year for the two standout leading players in bottled water, Société des Stations Thermales et des Eaus Minérales and Société d'exploitation des Eaux Minerales, as each of these companies lost significant value share as the category overall registered dynamic sales growth. Each of these leading players faced stronger competition from smaller rivals during the year as rising demand and the pressure on the supply of bottled water due to the COVID-19 pandemic encouraged consumers to broaden their horizons in terms of their preferred bottled water brands.
The forecast period is expected to see sales of bottled water continue to increase at a steady and robust rate. The main factor supporting growth in the category is set to be its essential status as many consumers are increasingly reluctant to drink tap water or well water due to concerns over potential contamination, however unfounded these concerns may be.
One of the most interesting trends to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic was the major shift towards e-commerce in the retailing of a wide range of fmcg. This especially applied to bottled water as many people sort convenience when purchasing bottled water in bulk, especially when buying large containers in excess of five litres.
The economic pressures created the COVID-19 pandemic forced many of the leading players in soft drinks to adopt new strategies to ensure that their products remain affordable to a wide consumer base. Previously, most bottled water brands focused mainly on 500ml PET bottles and this has long been an important pack size in the category, accounting for a high proportion of overall sales.
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This report originates from Passport, our Bottled Water research and analysis database.
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