What are the market opportunities in Europe for point-of-use water (POW) purification systems? Water purification represents a rising concern, both for developed and developing countries, driven by customers’ demand for access to clean, safe and well-tasting water. Point-of-use water purification systems hold the promise of making high-quality drinking water available at relatively low costs, if compared with bottled water and tap water. Basically, in the case of POW, consumers experience control over water safety. The Domestic Appliances business unit at Philips Consumer Lifestyle, a branch of Royal Philips Electronics, aims at building a strong position in the growing market for point-of-use water purification appliances. Philips water purifiers are gaining popularity in countries like India, Vietnam and Brazil, where high-quality drinking water is problematic. In Northwestern Europe, by contrast, drinking water is seen as a commodity, and consumers tend to trust the water they purchase in bottles or that they get as tap water from the local water companies or municipalities. However, this confidence is under pressure due to growing awareness about surface and ground water contamination, limitations to purification, and the negative environmental impact of bottled water. Given the drivers in favor of point-of-use water purification on the one hand, and the inhibitors on the other, key question is which are the decisive ones that will shape the industry or rather keep the current status quo in Europe. Should Philips be a driver of change in Europe, or go with the flow? Which direction will the European markets for drinking water develop?
Keywords: strategy, industry development, drinking water, point-of-use water purification