Kent ready to tap RO market with new sales plan, double production

Country’s leading water purifier makers air purifiers, cooking appliances and vacuum cleaners aims to tap the growing R O water purifier market by doubling its production and shifting its marketing strategy, exclusively from retail to a mix of retail and direct.

According to Kent RO Chairman and Managing Director Mahesh Gupta, the company plans to double its production capacity from current 5 lakh units a year to 10 lakh units.

And for this, it has set up its second production unit at Noida at a cost of Rs 110 crore to produce about 5 lakh water purifiers. The unit will become operational by September, he said.

Besides, the company has also inked an agreement recently with one of the Asia’s leading direct selling company Qnet to market its products, Mr Gupta said. The Qnet has already begun selling its state- of- the –art RO system in the Indian market.

The company hopes to register a quantum jump in its turnover this fiscal with involvement of the direct selling leader in its sales operation, Mr Gupta said, adding that the turnover in FY 2018-19 is expected to cross Rs 950 crore, up from Rs 830 crore in the previous fiscal.

Kent offers a large variety of healthcare products such as water purifiers, air purifiers, cooking appliances and vacuum cleaners. However, it has a market hold for its RO water purifier’s brand. Qnet will also sale other products of the company.

The Kent CMD said the India water purifier market is expected to expand at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 14.5 per cent between the forecast periods 2017- 2025.

He said the water purifier market in India is being fuelled by increasing awareness about the benefits of pure water, rampant urbanisation, booming industrialisation, and government initiatives through various policies and campaign about advantages of consuming clean water.

Despite the strong market drivers, the challenge of educating the masses about the efficiency of these purifying technologies across rural India is expected to restrain the market. It is really disappointing to note that water purifiers have reached only 2.5 per cent of the population in the country.

A huge chunk of the population still relies on boiling water to ensure purification. However, the rising adoption of water purifier in urban areas of India is anticipated to open up lucrative opportunities in the market.

He said, over the last few decades, India has been facing significant challenge of resolving the issue regarding the availability of safe and pure drinking water to its huge population, especially when it has only 4 per cent of fresh water available.

According to the recent statistics published by the World Bank, over 75 per cent of the communicable diseases in India are water related.

Stating that the water purifiers market in India is highly consolidated, Mr Gupta said the top 4 manufacturers account for over 66 per cent of the overall market revenue. Kent has a market share of around 20 per cent, he said.

The key players operating in the India water purifier market are Whirlpool India Ltd. Hi-Tech RO Systems, Essel Nasaka, Eureka Forbes, Kent Ro system Ltd., Godrej Industries Ltd., Panasonic India Pvt. Ltd., Brita GmbH and Kaz USA, Inc.

The market is quite consolidated due to the presence of few leading players. However, in the coming years, the competition is expected to get stiffer due to the introduction of several small and local players.

India being a price sensitive economy, manufacturers are focusing on developing low-cost variants and improving their product reach. Thus, low cost water purifiers are making inroads in both urban and rural markets through either conventional distribution channels or through non-government organisations.

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