Why does someone prefer to carry a ubiquitous product like water in a bottle when they could almost always get it fresh and running from a tap?

The reasons that drive the target market for bottled water are many and diverse.

Some consumers only drink bottled water because they believe that it is cleaner than tap water.

Others prefer the convenience, portability that bottled water affords.

Some others only drink bottled water from glass bottles while others will not find using plastic bottles worrisome at all.

Bottled water also comes in different flavors, reinforced with nutrients and of course in the form of sparkling water.

In short, bottled water is attractive to different consumers in different ways. In this article, we’ll look a closer look at these consumers who form the target market for bottled water. 

target market for bottled water
(Image source)

Bottled Water vs Tap Water

When it comes to the debate of bottled water vs tap water, there are a few things you should know.

The advantages of tap water are that it is typically more affordable, it comes from a known source, and it has undergone extensive safety testing.

The disadvantages of tap water are that it can have an unpleasant taste or odor, it may contain contaminants, and lead pipes can leach lead into the water.

Bottled water typically has a cleaner taste than tap water because the water is filtered before it’s bottled. However, bottled water can be expensive, and it creates a lot of plastic waste. Even when water is bottled in glass bottles, it still needs to be transported from its source to the grocery or convenience store and transportation comes with an environmental cost.

Ultimately, consumers make their choice based on individual beliefs, needs and preferences. For those looking for an affordable, safe option, tap water (in most countries) is a good choice. For those who want cleaner-tasting water or want to avoid the potential risks that lead pipes can pose, then bottled water can be a better option.

Segmentation of the Target Market for Bottled Water

Consumers who prefer bottled water consumption over tap water consumption can be segmented as follows:

  1. Health-Conscious
  2. Safety-Conscious
  3. “On-the-go”
  4. Tourists & Travellers
  5. Taste-Conscious

Consumers of bottled water for reasons of health, safety and taste are usually willing to pay more and so can be segmented based on price.

On the other hand, consumers who buy bottled water because they are moving around or because they are visiting another country have a special need for bottled water at that point in time. Such consumers can be segmented based on need.

No, let’s take a closer look at the different segments.

Health-Conscious Consumer

Consumers who are health conscious and want to avoid drinking tap water because they believe it could be contaminated or unhealthy are an ideal market segment for bottled water.

Certain other people like athletes, people living in rural areas, children, the elderly and those with health conditions like upper respiratory illnesses are also a market segment for bottled water for health reasons.

Some consumers especially want bottled mineral water. Famous sources of water in different parts of the world, which have been known for centuries for their health benefits now are sources for bottled mineral water.

Safety-Conscious Consumer

Safety-conscious consumers of bottled water are people who live in areas where tap water is not safe to drink.

In some parts of the world, the piping infrastructure is old and can be damaged causing water lines to leak, burst and potentially contaminate the water.

Even in parts of the world, where there is no piping infrastructure problem, you can find the safety-conscious consumer who does not like the idea of water being stored in large communal tanks and piped through public infrastructure to the house.

These safety-conscious consumers are also an ideal market segment for bottled water.

“On-the-go” Consumer

One of the biggest conveniences of bottled water is its portability.

Whether you are out for a run, at the beach, or on a road trip, carrying a water bottle is an easy way to stay hydrated.

And unlike other portable drinks like sports drinks or juice, bottled water doesn’t have any sugar or calories and it doesn’t require any preparation. Consumers can just grab a bottle from the fridge and go. Or they can buy one in virtually any store.

Tourists & Travellers

People who travel and are tourists are often unsure about the water in a foreign country. Whether necessary or not, they often play it safe and drink bottled water.

Also, tourists are always on the move and so it’s a lot convenient to have access to drinking water while on the go.

Taste-Conscious Consumer

There are many people who simply like the taste of bottled water. This target market may also have a preference for specific brands or sources of bottled water.

Manufacturers of bottled water are able to control the mineral content and thereby alter the taste of the water to make it attractive to one segment of the market or another.

So, it’s little wonder that taste plays such a major role in consumers’ affinity towards and purchase of a specific brand of bottled water over another. 


Bottled water consumption is on the rise as health-conscious consumers get rid of sugared drinks in exchange for water.

As a result, the Bottled water market is likely to keep growing with water being shipped further and further away from its source. This will increase the environmental cost associated with drinking bottled water.

Mineral water with its perceived health benefits will continue to gain in popularity.

Providing access to safe drinking water will remain one of the most pressing global challenges in the coming decades. And bottled water with its controlled production processes will remain a vital source of clean drinking water in many parts of the world.