Declining air quality is cited as the No.1 reason for increase in the chest and throat infections among Indian population. There were nearly 3.5 million reported cases of acute respiratory infections in 2015, a 30% increase since 2010. With 13 Indian cities finding a place in the World Health Organization’s List of World’s 20 most polluted cities in 2015, Indian consumers are waking up to the looming dangers to their health.

The quality of drinking water in India is also a major concern. Water-borne disease in India affects 37.7 million persons annually including the loss of 73 million working days and the death of 1.5 million children from diarrhea alone. The deteriorating condition of the country’s drinking water supply makes the multi-technology point-of-use devices ‘water purifiers’ a must-have in every Indian home.

Indian consumers are no longer waiting for government action but overcoming their inertia to do what best they can to improve their health. Being concerned about the air and water pollution, they are now seeking practical and environmental solutions. This is propelling the demand for air purifiers and water purifiers among the mid-segment consumers who want to keep themselves safe from the mounting dangers of air and water pollution.

Last year witnessed a huge growth in the Indian market for air and water purifiers with New Delhi as the leading market. The country's air purifier market recorded revenues worth $27.17 million in 2015 and is anticipated to grow exponentially over the coming years as well, according to a report by 6Wresearch. The same report highlights the overall air purifier market including room and car air purifiers would together witness growth rate of over 160 per cent.

The increase in water pollution and the shortage of fresh water supply by municipalities are driving Indian consumers to buy water purifiers at their homes, offices and schools. There is a rising demand for water purifiers in the Indian market. Kent RO Systems entered the segment in January this year and has already sold around 1,500 purifiers. Eureka Forbes, Kent RO, LG, Hindustan Lever and Tata hold a major market share in the organized sector. The water purifier market in terms of revenues has grown at a CAGR of 25.4% from FY’2010-FY’2014. The demand for water purifiers is seen across the market segments including rural areas, small towns and big cities. There is an increasing awareness about safe drinking water in cities such as Agra, Jodhpur, Varanasi and Udaipur. Indian consumers are looking for effective and affordable water purifiers.

Air pollution is a major concern for people in India. Indian consumers realize that it is not just the outdoor air which is unhealthy but the indoor air needs to be cleaned too. This is one of the key reasons for rising demand for air purifiers in Indian cities. Buying air purifiers is now not seen as the forte of just the ‘rich and wealthy’ but there is a rising demand from the Indian middle class. As the people become aware about the increasing pollution levels and the risk it causes to their health, they are more than ready to invest in air purifiers. Price is not the sole criteria driving the purchase behaviour of Indian consumers who are also curious to know the effectiveness of these devices.

Four or five air purifier models were launched within three months. Flipkart, a leading e-commerce portal reported 300-400 per cent growth month-on-month in their sale of air purifiers. Snapdeal, another e-commerce giant, has seen a five times growth in sales of air purifiers last year compared to the same period previous year. Metro cities such as New Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai are the biggest contenders.

According to the research report “India Water and Air Purifier Market Outlook to 2019 – Increasing Household Coverage to Propel the Growth” the air and water purifier market in India will grow at a considerable rate due to the increasing awareness among people and the rising spending power of people. The report says the air purifier market in India is still at its nascent stages with revenues expected to register an astonishing CAGR of 40.1% during FY’2014-FY’2019. HEPA air purifiers hold the maximum market share in terms of revenue generated in the air purifier industry in India. Owing to their sheer scope commercial air purifiers generate higher revenues than household and institutional air purifiers.

The upcoming cost-effective technologies that reduce the cost of the product make the air purifier affordable for larger part of the society, thus further accelerating the demand. Eureka Forbes, Daikin, Panasonic, Sharp, Honeywell, LG, Philips and Kent are the major plays in the air purifier market in India. The air purifier market in India is expected to boom in the next 5-10 year due to the increasing awareness among people. Some showrooms in New Delhi have seen a 50 per cent hike in their sales of air purifiers. Even the chest specialists in the leading hospitals of the capital are advising patients to use air purifiers especially to those with respiratory problems. Showrooms are training their sales staff to help the consumers make more informed choices when it comes to buying an air purifier.

Sweden-based air purifier firm Blueair began operations in India in 2015 and is now eyeing to capture 15 per cent of the total market share in the next three years period. There are lot of such opportunities waiting to be unleashed in air purifiers and water purifiers segments in the Indian market.

Shailja Kaushik | Blogger - Arsha Consulting

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