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Market Potential for Packaged Water Industry in India

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Market Demand and Market Potential in Packaged Water Industry in India Packaged water or Bottled water industry, colloquially called, the mineral water industry, is a symbol of new life style emerging in India. Use of mineral water has gradually increased in India due so widespread shortage of pure hygienic potable water. While a large segment of the population is struggling to get access to potable water supply, a new generation – especially in the urban areas – is getting accustomed to bottled water.

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Drinking water supplies in many parts of India are intermittent. Transmission and distribution networks for water are generally old and badly maintained, and as a result, are deteriorating. India is one of the biggest and most attractive water markets in the world. It is considered the 10th largest packaged water consumer country in the world. The boom time for Indian bottled water industry is to continue- more so because the economics are sound, the bottom line is fat and the Indian government hardly cares for what happens to the nation’s water resources.

Corporate control over water and water distribution in India is growing rapidly from being confined to the uppermost echelons of society, packaged water has now become a commonplace commodity and almost a necessity in metros. After witnessing historic growth in recent years, it has become a Rs 3,000-Crore industry, one that is slated to only post healthy growth rates to become a Rs 10,000-crore business in a short span of time. The market in India has grown tremendously over past decade and is said to have a humongous growth rate of 38% per annum as against an international growth rate of 7. %. Market experts observe that there are more than 1800 water brands in India, of which are most are local or regional brands which are often classified as unorganized sector. The key brands in the organised sector include Bisleri (Parle), Kinley (Coca-Cola), Oxyrich (Manikchand), Aquafina (Pepsi Foods), etc. In this industry it is popularly said DEMAND OF WATER WOULD NEVER GO DOWN… & WATER WOULD NEVER BE OUT OF BUSINESS While the single largest share in the mineral water market might still belong to an Indian brand — Parle’s $52 million (Rs. . 5 billion) Bisleri brand has a 40 percent share — multi-national corporations are not far behind. It has been a pioneer in launching the concept of packaged drinking water in India. It has been so popular with the masses that even today most of the people refer to mineral or packaged water as ‘Bisleri’. Nestle and Danone are vying to purchase Bisleri, and Pepsi’s Aquafina and Coke’s Kinley brands have been extremely successful in edging out many of the small and medium players to buy-outs and exclusive licensing deals.

In less than two years since its launch, Aquafina has cornered 11 percent of the market and Kinley has almost a third of the market. News reports indicate that other MNCs like Unilever are also eying the market. Today packaged water is the fastest growing industry in the beverage sector. Western region of India – the largest market The western region, that is Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa, accounts for a large chunk of around 35-40% of the overall domestic market.

Key players in the western region such as the Manikchand Group, Coca-Cola India, Amul India, are keenly contemplating organic and inorganic growth strategies, launch of new brands, venturing into newer segments and so on. Companies in the region are using a combination of various strategies to tap business opportunities such as tie-ups with cinema halls, retail outlets, hotels, hospitals, super markets, institutions and other distribution channels, which abound in the western region of the country.

Managing logistics is at the core for the success of bottled water manufacturers. Indeed, groups like Amul India are deliberating using its existing retail network to market and distribute its bottled water. This region is also poised to make a notable contribution to the great Indian bottled water growth story in terms of taking lead in launching water variants and newer sub-segments like mineral water, spring water, flavored water and so on. Here also Biseri has emerged as a market leader. Further Scope of Growth in the Industry

As the purchasing power and health and hygiene consciousness of Indian consumers improves, the consumption per person is likely to grow exponentially. Not surprisingly, the market is estimated to reach the Rs 5,000 crore mark by 2010. Going a step further, more optimistic market experts anticipate a 20 fold leap from the current market size within the next 10-12 years. Apart from increasing affluence among domestic consumers, exports would provide a further trigger to the industry. Exports of natural water, particularly to US and Europe, would drive growth for domestic players.

As per industry forecasts, the demand for potable water is expected to exceed supply by 2020. Not surprisingly, given the lucrative western market and robust growth prospects, many large Indian corporate houses and multinational companies are interested in acquiring strong Indian brands. The acquisition of Mount Everest Mineral Water by the Tata group is testimony to this trend under which Tata Tea plans to leverage its existing overseas network to distribute natural water, the world over.

Also with the increasing international tourism demand for hygienically packaged water is expected to grow manifolds especially with the Commonwealth Games in October 2010. Thus despite recording exceptional growth rate in past, packaged water industry has a huge growth potential in terms of market size. There are still rural and semi rural areas to capture. With 19% share of the unorganized sector low priced segments are still left un captured.

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