How did the “high-force” water cup become the status symbol of the millennial generation?

How did the “high-force” water cup become the status symbol of the millennial generation?
Millennials are willing to spend $50 to buy a water cup for a reason.

Amanda Mull

Monique Mongeon is an educator and currently teaches art classes in adult classes in Toronto. Because of her age, Meng Ji is easily influenced by the values ​​of the students and tries some strange things, so this job is extremely challenging for her. “At that time, I was only in my 20s, I hope I can have something that will allow me to establish a prestige in front of a group of young people in their 20s,” she said. At first, Meng Jien thought about buying a bag or a pair of shoes, but quickly gave up on this idea because they looked too luxurious. In the end, she bought a water glass for $45. “I tangled on S’well’s website for a long time and wanted to buy a cup that fits my needs.”

9 years ago, when S’well first met with consumers, there were not so many dazzling designs. Now, we can choose from more than 200 cups of different sizes and colors. The materials of marble and teak are also very good. Attractive. Not only that, but consumers can also customize their own exclusive cups and engrave their initials on the cup. The capacity of the cups varies, with a large bottle of red wine and a small cocktail or coffee. In recent years, many young people like to use the S’well cup to pay attention to their favorite subjects and invite them to participate in the prom. On social media, more and more fashion people use it to create, creative and beautiful.

S’well cup

S’well’s success is impressive, which has led more and more competitors to turn their attention to similar markets. After all, “high-end and environmental protection” has already become the trend of contemporary society. If you don’t like S’well style, there are many other brands to choose from, including Yeti, Sigg, Hydro Flask, Contigo and bkr. At the recent New York Fashion Week, Soma and the LV designers Virgil Abloh and Evian’s limited-edition water bottle were warmly welcomed. The cup, called VitaJuwel, sells for more than $100. It is said that its unique alternate natural gemstone separation system can reconstitute the structure of water molecules to make it sweeter and softer.

VitaJuwel Cup

On the surface, consumers’ esteem for high-end water cups seems ridiculous. After all, there are so many containers that can be used to drink water at home. But after in-depth thinking, we found that the popularity of these cups is not only as simple as the changes in consumer preferences, they just stand at the crossroads of cultural and economic development and have a profound impact on the lives of contemporary Americans. If you can understand why so many people are willing to buy a cup for $50, you can better understand the United States in 2019.

In 2004, when I first entered the campus of the University of Georgia, I was surprised to find that it seems that only me alone in the world does not know the brand of Nalgene. For a long time, its unique and lightweight design has been favored by the majority of outdoor sports consumers, but it was not until mid-2000 that Le Gene really ushered in an explosive fashion frenzy. At that time, a music bottle with a school badge printed in the school bookstore cost $16, far exceeding my consumption level, but I still bought it back with my scalp. It seems that only then can I integrate into my friends. ring. Not only that, Georgia is hot, and a beautiful and practical water bottle seems to be a reasonable luxury.


It was at that time that I noticed the trend that is closely related to the marketization of high-end water cups: the popularity of sports and leisure. The young girls dressed in fashion are all wearing colorful Nike shorts, always holding a sparkling plastic plastic cup in their hands. “For millennials, exercise and health are signals themselves, and they realize the importance of drinking water,” said Tulin Erdem, a marketing professor at New York University. “Take these cups with you, It has also become part of the self-expression of these young people.”

Today, on the social media pages of many fitness experts or coaches, we often see these “high-force” cups, and they don’t have any benefit except to get a few compliments. Sarah Kauss, founder and CEO of S’well, said that since the company’s inception in 2010, people have been keen to take pictures of these glasses. “I receive hundreds of photos from customers every week,” she said. “But I have never paid anyone, such as free gifts or shopping coupons. People just want to share them with me. Life experience only.”

Coase said that he has always known the importance of the appearance of the product, and packaging a simple water cup into a luxury item is actually a risky business game. “With the change in professional income, my level of consumption has also improved. Whenever I open the closet, the plastic cup that popped up in the past seems to be so out of place,” she said. Cows noticed that many fashionable New Yorkers always had Evian or Fiji disposable plastic cups. It was at that time that she realized that maybe people need a more environmentally friendly and durable select.

Fortunately, Cowes and her companions just happened to catch up with the good times of starting a business. More and more fashion people are beginning to realize the importance of sports and fitness. People are paying more attention to the dangers of household garbage and plastic products. Everyone hopes to use a stylish and environmentally friendly water cup. Researchers have found that environmentally friendly products can significantly increase consumer buying preferences, especially when the cost of such products is higher than similar (not environmentally friendly) products.

Nearly 10 years have passed, and the market trend of high-end water cups has not shown any signs of slowing down. On the contrary, people seem to be more and more fond of these cups. Among these products, insulating metal materials are most popular among consumers, and they are not only excellent in temperature control performance, but also extremely durable. I did a survey on Twitter and hundreds of people couldn’t wait to share their stories with me. Rebecca Thomas from Atlanta has three S’wells cups. One time she accidentally left one of them in a taxi. In order to get the cup back, she even gave the driver a sum of money. . She said: “It was from that time that I decided not to put red wine in it, haha.” Others, too, loved their cups. “On the day I passed away, I hope to be buried with all of my Hydro Flask cups,” said Elizabeth Sile, a New York-based editor. “I hope that by that time, Hydro Flask has started selling coffins. Then I can be buried inside.”

Cheap Hydro Flask

In addition, due to the orientation of social media, many people think that these “high-force” cups seem to be women’s patents. For example, a brand like bkr is mainly made of soft glass silicone material. The specially designed bottle cap can also be used to place lip gloss. Obviously, the focus will be on female consumers (after all, everyone knows the importance of drinking water for skin care). In fact, bkr’s original brand positioning was not the case, but outdoor camping equipment, and quickly gained a foothold in the male group.

Bkr cup

At the same time, brands such as Yeti and Hydro Flask have been working hard to reach a male audience. Mike Ferguson, 37, from Los Angeles, has four different sizes of Yetis water bottles in his home, usually for drinking water or iced coffee. “I think this may be my only shortcoming,” he said. “I have never regarded myself as a loyal customer of this brand, but the truth is in front of me, maybe it is.”

Like many people, Ferguson’s first Yeti water bottle is actually a gift from someone else. Coase said that she also saw this trend in S’well’s customers. Many people would buy one or two for their own use, and then they would buy more online (as a gift) during the holiday season. Many brands are starting to order products for a large number of corporate customers, which means that your boss may send you a water cup with the company logo at the end of the year. Although it costs to buy a cup for 40 or 50 dollars, it sounds extravagant, but if it is a gift, people are still happy to accept it.


When all these factors are combined, it’s no surprise that a $50 water cup can become a popular item. To some extent, these cups also fulfill their label’s promise: they can hold water, have good temperature control, look beautiful, and don’t leave unsightly water stains on the bedside table. For consumers like Ferguson or Meng Jien, these cups can also enhance the external image, making them look confident and stylish. Not only that, but for most people, it is not an exaggeration to enjoy a little satisfaction and fun in the boring daily life, work and exercise. For those consumers with lower incomes, these cups are not only durable but also environmentally friendly. Why not?

Any kind of container, whether it is a rented storage cabinet or a beautiful and delicate basket, represents control and order. Marie Kondo, the housewife, teaches you how to organize housework on Netflix. There is a reason for it. Putting the right things in the right container can bring a little peace to people. Of course, the choice of consumers may not be an effective way to solve structural problems such as environmental pollution, but the rational and environmentally-conscious consumption consciousness behind it can still feel good. In any case, for millennials, they are aware of the importance of drinking water and can afford the best cups within their capabilities, which is not a good thing.