This article was originally published in Water Online.
A recent survey by the Water Quality Association revealed that 30 percent of residential water utility customers were concerned about the quality of water flowing from their taps. This may help explain why American consumers spent upwards of $16 billion on bottled water last year, and why the water purifier market continues to experience dramatic growth and is projected to generate $45.3 billion by 2022 as companies in the space strive to meet consumer demand.
However, concern over water quality isn’t the only reason for this market’s growth. Across the globe, we’ve seen five major trends pick up steam, all of which we believe will contribute to the market’s continued evolution and expansion.
1. Slimmer Product Profiles
Throughout Asia, increasing property prices and growth in rural-urban migration are forcing people to live in smaller spaces. With less counter and storage space for appliances, consumers are looking for products that will not only save space but help to eliminate clutter. The water purifier market is addressing this trend by developing smaller products with slimmer profiles. For example, Coway has developed the MyHANDSPAN product line, which includes purifiers that are no wider than the span of your hand. Since additional counter space could even be considered a luxury, it makes sense that Bosch Thermotechnology developed the Bosch AQ series residential water purifiers, which are designed to fit under the counter and out of sight.
It’s unlikely that apartments in Asia will get bigger anytime soon, so in the meantime, product managers must continue to fight for more space in consumers’ kitchens by designing smaller and slimmer water purifiers.
2. Re-mineralization for Taste and Health
Alkaline and pH-balanced water has become a rising trend in the bottled water industry, and now, water purifiers want a piece of the market for themselves. Strengthening their cause is the growing demand for products and goods in the wellness space, in which brands across the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry are looking to tap into the $30 billion Americans are spending on “complementary health approaches.” One company, Mitte®, sells a smart home water system that goes beyond purification by enhancing water through re-mineralization. Its unique selling point? Mitte’s water is not only pure, but healthy.
Of course, health isn’t the only factor driving the re-mineralization trend. Taste of water, especially of bottled water, is a fiercely debated topic, and trace minerals are now considered a critical component to taste. In fact, BWT, through its patented magnesium technology, releases magnesium back into the water during the filtration process to ensure a better taste. This not only applies to pure drinking water but helps improve the taste of other beverages such as coffee, espresso and tea.
3. Growing Need for Disinfection
An estimated 2.1 billion people around the world lack access to safe water, of which 289 million reside in Asia Pacific. Many water sources in Asia are polluted with industrial and urban waste, which means the likelihood of encountering E. coli bacteria versus other waterborne viruses is remarkably high. Thus, water purification suppliers must keep water disinfection top of mind, and we’re seeing purifier ratings that deviate from NSF class A/B and shift to revised ratings like 3-log E. coli. This provides acceptable continuous protection for drinking water systems yet can be accomplished more cost effectively and at a smaller size than higher levels of disinfection.
4. Real-time Water Quality Sensing
An emerging trend in the proliferation of smart home devices is the connected water filter. By providing continual data to app platforms, connected water filters can perform a wide range of functions from monitoring water quality to showing consumers their daily water consumption. These appliances will continue to get smarter and have the potential to expand from residential to municipal settings. For example, having sensors across a municipal water system could not only alert officials immediately of a contaminant, but could also monitor water levels more accurately and ensure entire communities have access to safe water.
5. Keep it Sparkling
If you haven’t heard of LaCroix, it’s possible you might be living under a rock. And the craze surrounding the brand, which some have referred to as a cult, has other brands like PepsiCo looking to take advantage. Water purifiers, as they continue to adopt trends present in the bottled water market, have taken bets on sparking water as well. One example is Coway’s sparkling water purifier. Consumers have shown their willingness to pay for higher quality water, and water purifiers are looking to match that willingness with new products that ensure both water quality and alignment with consumer preferences.
These are just five trends we’re observing in the market right now, but as the world continues to shift to healthier living and the demand for pure drinking water rises, the market for water purifiers will grow as well, bringing with it a range of new trends we’ll be sure to keep our eyes on.