'A water purifier has become a necessity today'

'A water purifier has become a necessity today'

Established in 1982, Eureka Forbes has emerged as a leading homegrown consumer durables brand, best known for its home cleaning and water purifier solutions, which have addressed changing consumer needs and environmental conditions.

Of all the company's offerings, Aquaguard is indeed a household name, having purified drinking water in millions of Indian households since 1984, clinching a market share of over 60%. Marzin Shroff, CEO and MD of Eureka Forbes, tells what has kept Aquaguard steady in its dream run, and shares key industry trends with DH's Hrithik Kiran Bagade in this interview. Edited excerpts:

How has been the journey of Eureka Forbes with regard to the Aquaguard brand?

Eureka Forbes is a leading homegrown consumer durables brand, offering solutions in water purification, air purification and cleaning categories. When we started in 1982, our primary business was to go door-to-door and sell vacuum cleaners.

In 1984, observing an increase in water contamination across the country, the company tapped into the water purifier segment and introduced Aquaguard, our flagship brand. It was the first water purifier launched in India. Today, with a presence across over 18,000 retail outlets, and a direct sales network of over 5,000 certified 'Eurochamps', over 6,500 service technicians and over 1,800 service centres across India, Aquaguard is one of the largest-selling water purifier brands in the world, and the most preferred choice of more than 20 million consumer homes in over 600 Indian cities.

What are the trends and challenges in the water purifier space?

India has long faced the challenge of providing safe drinking water to citizens. While there is a lack of access to water in some parts, there are regions where accessibility has improved, but with deteriorating water quality. Cities in India are growing, which has made it hard for the authorities to provide safe drinking water. As per industry reports, 54% of the nation is facing extremely high water stress, which is bound to get worse. As a result of this rampant expansion, potable water is becoming increasingly scarce.

The growing consumer awareness and lack of access to pure water have led to the growth of the water purification market. India's water purifier market is expected to reach $4.1 billion by the end of 2024, compared to $1.1 billion in 2015, according to Transparency Market Research.

Today, a water purifier at home has become a necessity, rather than a 'good-to-have' product. The demand for affordable potable water at home is expected to play a critical role in shaping the Indian water purifier market. Also, RO (reverse osmosis) and UV (ultraviolet) purifying technologies are expected to show a strong growth rate.

How have you faced those challenges?

Taking cognisance of this situation, Aquaguard has relentlessly introduced new technologies and solutions to address changing customer needs, aspirations and environmental concerns. With the advent of IoT, the implementation of this technology in water and wastewater infrastructure will help ensure optimisation and efficiency. This will further push the demand for smart and sustainable solutions.  

What is the size of Eureka Forbes as a company, and what is Aquaguard's size within that?

Eureka Forbes is a multi-product, multi-channel organisation with a gross group turnover of Rs 3,040.7 crore for the year ending March 31, 2017.  

Share some details about Aquaguard's market presence.

Eureka Forbes' expertise in mapping the groundwater quality across 6,000 postal codes helps the brand design the most appropriate purification solutions.

Aquaguard has a well-established presence in the East, West and South, and aims to capture the North in the near future. It is the only water purifier brand which understands that in India, water changes after every 100 km, and therefore, has developed 21 water purification technologies to combat 21 different water conditions.

Instead of taking a national approach, Eureka Forbes views markets by smaller geographic regions, socioeconomic categories and the availability of water. Today, the company's market strategy is spread over three brands and the following prospects - AquaSure (a no-frills offering, comprising both electric and non-electric 'smart' purifiers, and sold across rural and urban areas), Aquaguard (the market leader, available as an omnichannel brand), and Dr. Aquaguard (flagship range of premium water purifiers). The brand has more than 130 certifications by leading water laboratories.

What are the latest offerings from Aquaguard?

Aquaguard now has water purifiers that not only purify but also enable better absorption of essential natural minerals present in drinking water. Taking innovation to the next level, the company has recently launched a unique water purification technology – Biotron and NutriTron in its Dr Aquaguard and Aquaguard ranges that supplement essential minerals and nutrients in one's drinking water after purification. Earlier this year, Eureka Forbes also introduced Dr Aquaguard Intelligenz, an IoT-enabled water purifier that operates independently and enables consumers to monitor water quality on a smartphone.

What are your future plans for Aquaguard?

The next thing on agenda for Aquaguard involves penetration and upgrading existing water purifier-users. The focus in the coming years will be to provide technologically-advanced and interconnected appliances that provide customised solutions to cater to the ever-changing needs of consumers. The company plans to introduce an energy-efficient technology called Capacitive De-ionisation (CDI) to address the issue of water scarcity.

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