It took BRITA, a global water filtration technology pioneer, almost half a century to bring its expertise to India. This, after it made its presence felt as an authority in drinking water optimization in 66 countries. However, one cannot chalk this late entry to the lack of potential in the country, no sir. Instead, it was because of a simple dogma that the German company inherently follows while considering a foray into any market.
Talking about this, Melanie Aselmann, MD, BRITA India said that BRITA’s strategy over the last 50 years has been careful and cautious expansion into new markets ensuring that its product offering in the market adheres not only to local standards but also to the highest global standards. In line with this approach, BRITA has been carefully observing the Indian water purifier market and has spent the last two years studying and understanding India’s water conditions and consumer behavior towards water purifier to ensure that its product offering fulfills buyer expectation.
Earlier this year, BRITA announced its Indian foray with the MyPure Max range of premium water purifiers. Aimed at the environmentally conscious, well-travelled and health conscious consumers, the company currently offers two products – Mypure Max 5S and 6S – for its direct sales channel. “We will be adding one more, our flagship product, Mypure Max 7S by July 2019. Three new SKUs are already planned specifically for the retail channel, which will be launched within few months,” Aselmann added.
The Indian water purifier market is expected to reach $4.1 billion by 2024, growing at 15% CAGR from 2016 to 2024, according to Transparency Market Research. To grab a pie of this flourishing market, BRITA has come up with a three-pronged strategy. It will expand its product range to ensure it is suitable for drinking water requirements across India and will consistently innovate to bring in newer global solutions to address the drinking water challenge in the country. It will also expand its geographical footprint by being present across three key metro cities in the South and by 2022, it intends to be present across all Tier 1 cities in India. “We will also expand our reach through an omnichannel approach to ensure that our products are available to our target audience via multiple networks,” Aselmann added.
Currently, BRITA operates only through the direct sales channel. Over the next few months it plans on entering the retail channel and 2020, it intends to have a multi-channel presence, which it considers the most important touch points of its target group.
“In a segment that competes on price, we will work with channel partners who will help position BRITA as a premium brand that offers better quality, performance and reliability in the consumers’ mindset,” Aselmann explained. “We are strategically widening our distribution channels by partnering with key general retail dealers, which will ensure the right consumers visit the store. We have also noticed that our customers prefer going to stores where they are assured of the quality of their products. Hence, we have ensured that our distribution network caters to international standards, where the quality of products are valued higher than any other factor.”
TAKING ON THE COMPETITION
The Indian water purifier market has dominant players like Eureka Forbes and Kent RO System Ltd, who have been around for many years. Not only do they have the customers’ mindshare, but that of the retail channels as well. Capturing this will be an uphill task, which is something BRITA is aware of.
“We pride ourselves on our German engineering heritage. This will reflect not only in our product offering but also our brand communication. Over 70% of affluent consumers in India have a positive correlation between German engineering and performance/quality. BRITA will use this advantage to communicate about its products to the end consumer,” Aselmann revealed.
Bengaluru-headquartered BRITA presently engages with an OEM partner in India to manufacture its products in accordance with its global quality standards. It plans to build its operational support teams in terms of warehouses and service centers in line with its expansion strategy. This is partially where its investment of €5 million for the Indian business will be utilized.
“Our aim is to become the 3rd most recognizable water purifier brand in the country by 2022. With our 50 year old lineage to support this goal, we are more interested in building our brand in our consumer’s mind,” Aselmann summed up.