Water purification is the process of removing suspended solids and gases, contaminants, and undesirable chemicals from drinking water. Water purifiers enable the process of water purification. Water purifiers have been used throughout history to improve the aesthetics and safety of drinking water. India holds 17.4% of the world's population yet it only contains 4% of the world's fresh water resources, which are declining in terms of both supply and quality. Although drinking water was once considered safe in India, today providing nearly 1.2 billion inhabitants with access to safe drinking water is an increasingly difficult challenge. Groundwater sources are being rapidly exhausted, surface water sources are largely impure and the infrastructure needed to deliver drinking water both in urban and rural areas is either non-existent or needs considerable upgrades to meet the demand.
According to recently published report of Bonafide Research “India Water Purifier Market Outlook, 2021”, sales of offline water purifier are expected to grow robustly with a CAGR of 34.97% over next six years. There are three types of water purifiers in the market: Reverse Osmosis Based, Ultra Violet Based and Gravity/Offline. Currently, RO based water purifiers dominate the market, followed by UV and Offline purifiers. However, the scenario is soon expected to reverse with offline based purifiers registering the highest growth.
RO based purifiers are the most expensive among all the three water purifiers. The average selling price of RO is around Rs 11600 while UV based purifiers are sold around Rs 4600 on an average. The offline water purifiers are the most affordable selling at an average price of Rs 1170. Hence, low pricing of these purifiers make them the most preferred choice in non-metros and rural areas. Moreover, they are ideal for locations where power supply is unpredictable, with the added advantage of not requiring continuous water supply. Hindustan Unilever’s brand Pureit is the market leader in this category. Tata Swach, a brand of TATA, is expected to give tough competition to HUL. Also other brands like Livpure from Luminous and Aquasure from Eureka Forbes are expected to increase their distribution tier II and tier III cities to cash on the opportunity.
Innovations and investments are high in the offline purifier segment with manufacturers constantly coming up with low cost technology. For instance, Tata recently joined hands with Panasonic to develop a low cost product designed to serve small rural communities where water supply infrastructure is underdeveloped. Both companies will work together to lower the purification cost to less than Rs 55 per tonne of water. While Panasonic will take the lead in supplying technology, Tata will offer business networks and expertise in re-examining design and procuring materials locally. This product is expected to be commercialized by 2018.
In India, penetration of water purifiers is at a very low level. Penetration in rural India is even lower due to economic factors and poor sales and distribution networks. Less than 5% of the country’s rural market is currently being addressed. However, the shares of rural sales will steadily increase with the introduction of these affordable offline water purifiers.
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