Blue Star Limited, India’s leading air conditioning and commercial refrigeration company, has forayed into the residential water purifier business with the launch of a range of differentiated and premium products. The company will initially offer residential water purifiers, and will gradually enhance its range to cover commercial water purification systems as well. This initiative is part of the company’s aggressive growth plans to expand its presence in related new product categories.
Blue Star, which has over seventy years of experience in providing expert cooling solutions and forayed into the residential room air conditioners segment in 2011, has been evaluating entering new product categories, especially in the residential segment. Blue Star has been in the water cooler business for nearly seven decades and is also among the largest suppliers of bottled water dispensers in the country. Given its long association of water, coupled with the fact that it is perceived as a premium and modern brand and has a distribution network in nearly 4000 retail points across the country for its room air conditioners, the company believes that it will be able to make deep inroads into the water purifier business.
“While several players have tried to enter this business, most have treated it as a line extension. We believe that setting up a separate team is important for the success of this business as water is a difficult subject and necessitates a dedicated team. We have already set up a large team of about 90 people, most of whom have been part of the water purifier industry. The company is committed to make significant investments and wants this business to set a benchmark in terms of the product offerings as well as after-sales service,” said B Thiagarajan, joint managing director, Blue Star.
The market for pure drinking water has been on the rise mainly due to deterioration in the quality of water, resulting in a spurt in waterborne diseases. The residential water purifiers market in the country is pegged at about Rs 4,200 crores, increasing at a CAGR of 22 percent. About 3 million units sold every year are electric viz RO, UV, RO plus UV and its variants. In terms of value, due to their higher price points, electric purifiers contribute to about 70 percent of the market whilst the balance comprises gravity-based purifiers.
Blue Star has launched a range of 13 models – comprising four series called the Stella, Prisma, Edge and Majesto – with price points varying from Rs 14,900 to Rs 44,900. “Blue Star is not a general consumer durable player lending its brand across product categories but specialises in whichever business it enters. The water purifier industry is currently dominated by specialists, and we intend to be a specialist player in this category as well. The range of products launched augur well with our premium and aspirational brand personality. We aim to reach a market share of 15 percent in about 3 years,” added Thiagarajan.
Blue Star water purifiers will be initially available in Mumbai, Delhi NCR, Bengaluru, Secunderabad, Chennai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Nagpur and Chandigarh. In a few weeks, the distribution will be ramped up in all states in the South, Maharashtra and Gujarat as well as a few tier 2 & 3 markets in the North. Next year, they will be made available across the country. This phased approach is being implemented since the water quality varies from market to market, and it is prudent to approach all of them systematically rather than all at one time.