The Korea Herald


Bottled water prices hit 11-year high

By Lee Yoon-seo

Published : July 10, 2023 - 15:55

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A person picks up a bottle of Jeju Samdasoo in a supermarket. (Jeju Special Self-Governing Province Development Co.) A person picks up a bottle of Jeju Samdasoo in a supermarket. (Jeju Special Self-Governing Province Development Co.)

South Korea's price growth rate for bottled water recorded its highest level in 11 years following a series of price hikes in the industry, according to data Monday.

According to Statistics Korea, the consumer price index of bottled water stood at 112.09, a 10.8 percent on-month increase.

The nation's growth in the CPI of bottled water recorded its highest rate since June 2012, when it rose by 11.6 percent.

The price rise comes as the nation's biggest bottled water manufacturers hiked up their prices.

In February, Jeju Special Self-Governing Province Development Co. raised the factory price of Jeju Samdasoo by an average of 9.8 percent, initiating the brand's first price hike since 2018. Jeju Samdasoo currently stands as the No. 1 bottled water brand in the country in terms of market share as of 2023, according to Euromonitor.

Additionally, Lotte Chilsung Beverage, the beverage unit of the Korean conglomerate Lotte Group, increased the price of its beverage products -- including Isis, the company's bottled water product -- by 8.4 percent on average since December. According to Euromonitor, Isis currently holds the second-largest market share in the domestic bottled water market.

"The factory prices of Isis went up because the costs of logistics, labor and utility increased. Additionally, the price hikes in wrapping paper and plastic bottles inevitably contributed to the price increase of Isis products," an official from Lotte Chilsung Beverage said.

Following the increase in the products' factory prices, which refers to the price quoted only for the expenditure incurred during the manufacturing process, Isis' prices at retail outlets such as convenience stores rose by 15.8 percent for 500-milliliter Isis products, and by 14.7 percent for 2-liter Isis products.

A slew of popular convenience stores in Korea also recently increased their own brands of bottled water products, citing the increase in logistics costs. The price of CU's Mineral Water rose by 100 won (7 cents), while the price of GS25's Jirisan Natural Mineral Water rose by an average of 150 won.

According to Statistics Korea, increases in Korea's CPI have continuously been on a downward trajectory. The rate of increase for Korea's CPI stood at 5.2 percent in January, 4.8 percent in February, 4.2 percent in March, 3.7 percent in April, 3.3 percent in May and 2.7 percent in June.