HUL's first foray into the consumer durable market- Pureit is on an aggressive mode. The brand which was launched in 2004 has taken the battle into the premium segment of the water purifier market with the launch of Pureit Marvella.
Pureit is a classic case of a brand exploiting an important need-gap in the market. Indian water-purifier market worth around Rs 1200 crore is evolving, growing at 15%. The marketing of water purifiers were skewed towards urban markets of India. Only 8 % of the Indian consumers use water purifier which indicates the poor penetration of this product category into Indian households. The major hindrance for this being high price, installation difficulties, electricity consumption and lack of awareness. Eureka Forbes pioneered the growth of this category in the Indian market. Now this category has lot of players and new product-lines like RO water purifiers has been introduced.
The major players in the electricity -powered water purifier market however ignored the mass market focusing more on the margin rather than volume. These products which were priced at Rs 5000 upwards were beyond the reach of the average middleclass customers. Even though many such consumers were aware of the health benefits of a water-purifier, it was never in the priority list of high value purchases.
Sensing the opportunity, HUL launched Pureit range of battery operated storage-type purifiers at a price range of Rs 990- Rs 1250. These purifiers did not necessitated any installations which was a definite advantage for those who lived in rented houses. The brand was widely tested in South India before the national launch . According to reports, Pureit has already sold more than 1.3 million units becoming the largest selling water-purifier in India in volume-terms. The brand also created a new category of non-electric storage- water purifier market which is now worth around Rs 300 crore and growing very fast than the electric category.
One of the problems that Pureit faced during the launch was the doubt about brand's efficacy in the purifying business. HUL is new to this industry and not an expert so consumers rightly doubted the effectiveness of its product . To counter that, Pureit ran a very highly advertised " 1 crore challenge " to convince the consumer that its product is more effective than the competing brands.
After establishing its name in the mass market, Pureit is now targeting the market-creator Eureka Forbes in an aggressive frontal attack by launching the premium brand Pureit Marvella. Marvella is also a a non-electric purifier with storage capability priced at Rs 7000. The brand also launched its Reverse Osmosis water purifier Puerit Marvella RO at a price point of Rs 13500. These sub-brands directly competes with Eureka Forbes's major product-lines.
The entry of HUL into the Eureka Forbe's territory was marked with lot of legal fights between the brands because of advertising claims and counter-claims. Now the fight is in the field with both the brands trying to out market each other.
HUL in its typical FMCG style is launching Marvella range with a celebrity endorsement. The brand has roped in Farhan Akther and Praachi Desai as the brand ambassador. The campaign is now running featuring these celebrities.
Watch the ad here : Pureit marvella
The USP of the brand is its advanced warning system which alerts the consumer to change the RO membrane before it stops working.
The entry of HUL has virtually changed the dynamics of the water-purifier market in India. The market creator was totally out-maneuvered by HUL. Eureka Forbes decided not to counter HUL's foray into mass market because of lack of margin. In strategic terms , the decision made sense because low priced products tend to affect both margins and brand -equity. But Forbes failed to see the shift in the market and the growth of the non-electric segment to become the fastest growing segment. The popularity of the mass market segment also gave confidence for HUL to enter the market of Eureka Forbes. Eureka Forbes countered the HUL's entry by lowering the price of its base models. But HUL is such a formidable player that Eureka Forbes may need all its marketing strength to fight this giant.
Pureit : As Safe as boiled water