NEW YORK— As consumers continue to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle, the effort to find alternative solutions to single-use plastic, especially when it comes to water consumption, is soaring.
The hydration category has witnessed an uptick in recent years, with consumers adding reusable water bottles into their daily life, adopting it as just part of their routine be it at home or on-the-go.
Staying hydrated and healthy has also become a top priority for consumers around the globe who are staying home and practicing social distancing measures as a preventative tactic against the spread of the coronavirus.
“This new (temporary) reality we find ourselves in is forcing us to re-think what we do and how we do it. We are making time for exercise, being more thoughtful about what, when and how much we eat, and using the time to re-discover ourselves and how we might lead healthier lives. This will most definitely result in stronger sales across any product categories that enable a healthier lifestyle including food storage and hydration,” said Steven Bram, CEO, Core Home, which offers the Manna Hydration line.
Today’s consumers have also become more vigilant about the brands they buy and often prefer buying from brands that are transparent about their corporate responsibility.
S’well is transparent about its corporate mission to reduce single-use plastics and said this increase in consumer demand has grown steadily over the last ten years, since the company’s founding, and has been paramount to its philosophy and message.
“We’ve definitely seen an increase in interest and demand for products that help consumers do good. Our bottles and food containers really do make it easy for consumers to take the small steps on a daily basis that can lead to significant change when it comes to reducing single-use plastic consumption,” said Sarah Kauss, S’well founder.
Bram also said that adopting more sustainable goods has been a key driver when it comes to changing consumer behaviors over the last year.
“People are willing to modify their habits to be more mindful of their environmental footprint and as anyone in retail knows, there are some trends that stick and some that vanish as quickly. What we’re seeing in hydration is not a fad— it is very much a result of people all over the world wanting to live better versions of their lives,” he said.
Stephen Bruner, co-founder of Corkcicle, noted, “There has been a significant uptick in consumer behavior on seeking sustainable alternatives across the board, from consumer goods, to fashion, beauty and beyond. In general, there has been more visibility into the impact of single-use plastic on our planet as more people recognize they have the opportunity to make lots of small decisions that make a big difference globally.”
John Roscoe Swartz, president, Built New York, a division of Lifetime Brands, added that consumers often own more than one reusable bottle and are looking for distinctive features to match their activities and their personalities. Built continues to expand its assortment to provide solutions for all needs, such as bottles for the commute to work, and perhaps larger sized ones needed for a workout or outdoors.
“Consumers want their bottles and tumblers to be an expression of their personalities. At Built, we strive to provide a wide range of innovative, design-driven hydration options in colors, patterns, and textures that help consumers express their personal style,” he said.
Corkcicle also has incorporated fashion-forward designs and personalization options into its assortment of bottles, often tapping into key style trends and lifestyle preferences. One such example is the new carrier the brand introduced for its sport canteen bottle, designed for those consumers that are taking their hydration on outdoor excursions.
Personalization, something several of the hydration vendors said they strive to offer consumers, is one driving factor that has provided Tervis with a boost in sales and brand recognition. The company has released several new licensed lines of its tumblers and accessories, including the new textured Artist Series and additional pop culture icons.
“Consumers are looking for ways to express who they are and what they love whether it’s favorite sports teams, movies, TV or causes. We’re seeing great success with many of our licensed entertainment partners like The Mandalorian. With our rapid customization capability, we were able to be one of the first products to market when this first became popular,” said Harper Bean, e-commerce marketing director, Tervis.
While sustainability is a driving factor in hydration sales, so too has the transparency hydration vendors have provided, sharing with consumers the various charities and causes many have aligned with in an effort to take the sustainability movement further.
“Younger consumers are interested to hear from companies about their charitable efforts,” said Swartz. “It’s always been important to put your money where your mouth is, and consumers have so many choices in this category so it’s more important than ever. This goes hand in hand with the larger trend towards more sustainable consumer choices. We all want to make the world a better place and buying products from companies that give back is one way to make that choice.”
Kauss also commented that consumers gravitate towards brands that have a strong charitable message. The company has gained B Corp certification, which enables S’well to further its commitment to being a more responsible business as B Corps are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on all stakeholders: customers, workers, communities and the environment. social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability.
“Since we launched 10 years ago, our work with water programs has helped us fulfill our mission to not just rid the world of single-use plastic bottles, but also help communities in need,” she said.
Built launched its new charitable partnership with Water.org. The company released the new 18-ounce Cascade bottle, of which 1% of wholesale sales will go towards the charity’s efforts to help people around the world access safe water in their homes.
Bean said that at Tervis, the company has also noted that a company’s corporate responsibility activities has become as important as price and quality when it comes to a consumer’s purchasing decision.
“For Tervis, a brand that has been anchored on the coastal waters of Florida for many years, we’re on a mission to protect our oceans,” he said.