Bottled water consumption in the United States, while growing rapidly in recent years, still lags well behind European consumption. In part this is the result of the relative youth and prosperity of American cities, with municipal water systems that, by and large, provide clean, safe water. With limited health and safety incentives to switch from public water supplies, U.S.
consumers showed little interest in bottled water through the mid-1970s, although a small market existed among health-conscious consumers for mineral water and carbonated seltzer water. The huge and growing bottled water market that exists in the United States today began in 1977 when the French bottled water marketer Perrier launched a new marketing campaign for its brand. Its strategy included lowering its prices, expanding its distribution through supermarkets, and supporting these efforts with a massive advertising campaign. The result was a phenomenal increase in sales, which encouraged other overseas marketers to introduce their bottled water products into the U.S. market, while domestic marketers emerged to introduce a host of bottled waters from native sources.
Today, consumption of bottled water is expanding rapidly throughout the world. Municipalities in Third World countries cannot keep up with the demand for clean water from their growing populations, and so some turn to bottled water as a readily available alternative.