A British brand has become the top-selling bottled water brand in the UK for the first time, a new report on the plain bottled water sector has revealed.

A report released by Zenith International showed Perthshire-based Highland Spring’s brand share by volume of the UK market was 9% in 2012, ahead of Danone’s Evian and Volvic brands at 9% and 6%.

The figures exclude flavoured and enhanced waters.

Highland Spring said that, excluding bottled water coolers, which now account for 12% of the market, its brand grew 9% by volume in 2012. It claimed bottled water coolers drove 20% of the growth in the total packaged water market and, when these were taken into account, its brand share increased to 10.6%. Penetration increased to 14% of UK households.

Les Montgomery, chief executive of Highland Spring Group, said that European brands had played a pivotal role in its development of the category in the 1970s and had dominated it ever since. However he said there was a sustained “wave of support” for British brands on the back of London 2012 and the Diamond Jubilee.

“Consumers derive confidence from home-grown brands with strong provenance and traceability and are increasingly choosing these over imported products,” he said.

Zenith International’s 2013 UK Bottled Water market report showed the category had seen renewed momentum, with sales up 4.7% in 2012. This was driven by still water, which accounts for 86% of the market, it said, and there was particularly strong growth in the impulse channel. It predicted sales would rise a further 15% to 2,460 million litres by 2017.