In an exclusive conversation with Dr. Mahesh Gupta, Chairman, KENT RO Systems Ltd highlights the growth plans of the company.
How do you see the market of water purifier is growing in India? Where do you see this market will stand in next five years? What would be the market share of KENT RO in overall market?
The present market size of water purifiers is estimated to be around Rs. 3500 crore and constitutes of 3 major segments – RO, UV and Gravity water purifiers. The market for water purifiers today has seen a remarkable growth globally amid the acute shortage of clean drinking water that is posing a big challenge to many countries.
Given the increasing awareness, and largely untapped market potential, the sector is growing at a CAGR of around 25 percent. According to TechSci report, RO water purifier is the largest segment accounting for 42 percent of the market in 2011, while offline water purifiers contributed for about 20 percent of the market.
Kent is the market leader in its RO water purifier category and commands a market share of 35% in RO Water Purifier Category.
Kindly highlight the journey of your brand to Indian market? What were the key learnings over the years?
It was in 1999, when the Kent’s founder Mr. Mahesh Gupta’s children fell ill, that he realised that no water purifier available in India then removed the dissolved impurities in water.
This adversity led to the birth of Brand Kent and the first domestic RO Water Purifier was launched in India by Mr. Mahesh Gupta, which was based on his own home grown innovations.
Kent faced direct competition from a brand that was synonymous with the category itself and which was selling its product at 5 time’s lower price as compared to Kent RO Water Purifier.
However due to technological superiority and aggressive brand building exercise, Kent was able to capture the market. Today Kent is the market leader in RO Water Purifier category with a 35% market share and growing consistently.
What are the current purchasing trends in the water purifier segment?
The present purchase trend is largely reactionary. People tend to go in for a water purifier when a family member falls ill due to a water borne disease.
However there is strong need to make the people aware about the risks due to water borne diseases and the need to purify drinking water. The approach has to be preventive rather that reactionary.
Currently only a small part of population is using an RO water purifier. As per survey estimates, the penetration of RO water purifiers is just 1.5% of the population.
Kindly highlight your distribution network, how you plan to increase your distribution in near future?
Kent has the strongest distribution network, amongst the water purifier companies in India. Kent sells its products through various distribution channels – Retail chains, Modern Trade outlets, CSD & Police canteen, corporate tie ups, Direct door to door marketing and E-commerce.
The retail presence of brand Kent is phenomenal. Kent is present at around 12,000 retail outlets Pan India and has 3000 distributors, 300 Direct Marketing executive and a sales force of around 1500 sales persons.
And most importantly Kent has a state of the art CRM based centralised call centre and Service centres which service 14,000 pic codes.
How you are leveraging the emerging channel of e-commerce?
E-Commerce has lately become a very crucial channel of distribution for the category as a whole. Keeping in line with the trend, we have beefed up our expenditure in digital marketing in order to acquire online customers as well. Kent has tie ups with all leading E-commerce companies of India.
Any plans to have exclusive store in near future?
Kent offers innovative health care products like Air Purifiers, Vegetable cleaners, Home Cleaners besides RO Water Purifiers. Also we are on a path of diversification and plan to launch our innovative range of kitchen appliances as well.
Thus we plan to set up excusive Kent Experience Centres, where the customers can experience the innovative products offered by us.
Any plans to venture into packed drinking water segment?
We have no plans to sell water.
Which is your best seller model so far?
Kentwater purifiers are based on the patented Mineral RO Technology offering Double Purification by RO+UV+UF+TDC Controller, which besides removing bacteria, viruses and dissolved impurities, also retains the essential minerals in RO Purified water.
Our range of Mineral RO Water Purifiers are the best sellers so far. Models like Kent Grand Plus, Kent Pearl and Kent Supreme are highest selling ones.
At last, kindly mention your growth plans?
Riding on its success, the firm has grown into Rs800 crore Company and is consistently growing by 15% Year on Year.
Kent RO presently has two manufacturing units at Roorkee in Uttarakhand, having capacity to roll out 6,00,000 RO water purifiers in a year. With an investment of 100 crores, the company is readying up a new manufacturing plant in Greater Noida with a similar production capacity. The plant will be commissioned in 2018.