Renewed Water Filtration Growth On Tap

This is the seventh installment of a special series, presented by the National Hardware Show, exploring key trends and developments driving the growth of housewares and home goods in the home improvement retail business.

Home improvement centers and hardware stores are benefitting from a renewed growth opportunity from water filtration systems.

Concerns about household water quality— inflamed by high-profile contamination issues that grabbed national headlines in recent years—  remain a strong driver and water filtration sales. Now, another environmental concern is stirring a new wave of water filtration awareness and demand: Consumers seeking to reduce or eliminate their use of single-use water bottles.

Canada as of press time was on the verge of approving a ban on single-use plastics by 2021. In the United States, while no ban is being discussed, the issue of plastic waste and its impact on the environment has been in the news— and social consciousness— during the past year.

Water filter suppliers are beginning to tap into the marketing advantage of endorsing the reduction of single-use water bottles. For example, one product supplier of a faucet-mount water filtration system claims that using its unit instead of buying bottled water will save consumers $1,000 annually. Another supplier of a pitcher system claims that using one of its filters to replacement equals drinking 300 16.9-ounce bottles of water.

Accurate consumer education about factors contributing to water filtration demand and about the performance and efficacy of various types of water filters are vital to water filtration marketing and merchandising strategies.

While installed water filtration systems are the first choice for many consumers, products that are portable such as faucet-based and countertop-based units continue to allow a broad range of shoppers to filter water on a daily basis without having to purchase pricey systems.

With consumer interest in the water filtration category again on the rise, retailers need to keep a close watch on purchase influences and consumer pricepoint expectations.

HomeWorld’s 2019 Forecast Consumer Survey revealed that an overwhelming majority of consumers say they would pay $59.99 or less for a water filtration product; less than $20, 25.9%; $20-$39.99, 32%; and $40-$59.99, 24.4%.

About 40% of those surveyed by HomeWorld survey said a discount store would be their retailer of choice for water filters. Other popular retail channels for water filtration products include home improvement/hardware stores and Internet/catalog outlets.

Home improvement retailers have long demonstrated a commitment to presenting comprehensive selections of in-line and portable water filtration systems, as well as replacement filters. Water filtration offers a significant, high-margin aftermarket opportunity for these retailers. Consumers in need of replacement filters often turn first to the outlets from which they purchase water filtration systems.

The National Hardware Show is a leading marketplace for an expanding selection of home environment resources and products, including water filters, air cleaners, dehumidifiers, humidifiers, portable air conditioners, heaters and fans. The 2020 National Hardware Show takes places May 5-7 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.