Rich ‘Raz’ Razgaitis co-founded FloWater in 2013 with a singular mission to put an end to single-use plastic water bottles.
According to recent findings by Precedence Research, the global water purifier market is poised for significant growth over the next decade. They valued the market at $43.2 billion in 2022 and project that it will almost triple in size over the next decade, growing to $120.38 billion by 2032, with a CAGR of 10.79%.
These findings are consistent with the robust growth I’ve witnessed as the CEO and co-founder of FloWater, a water purification company dedicated to providing people with clean, healthy water while working to eliminate single-use plastic bottles.
Research by the Environmental Working Group shows that 50% of those surveyed feel that their tap water is unsafe to drink, and they have good reason to be concerned. A recent study by the U.S. Geological Survey estimated that at least 45% of America’s tap water contains polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS).
PFAS are synthetic chemicals, also known as “forever chemicals,” because they don’t break down in the environment or the human body. They are commonly found in consumer products such as cleaning products, non-stick cookware and personal care products such as shampoo, dental floss and nail polish.
While the health effects of PFAS on the human body are still being studied, research by the Centers for Disease Control indicates that they may increase the risk of kidney or testicular cancer, high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia in pregnant women, and higher cholesterol levels.
Add this to the growing number of man-made water disasters from Flint, Michigan, to the discovery of lead contamination in 25% of California’s schools and child care centers. Consumers have a good reason not to trust the water coming out of their taps.
Despite the best efforts of municipal water treatment facilities, these systems were often not designed to withstand and remove synthetic contaminants such as PFAS, glyphosate, pharmaceuticals, etc.
That’s also why numerous businesses and public facilities, including schools, hotels, gyms and offices, have increasingly prioritized ensuring that their guests, employees and students have both clean and great-tasting water available through point-of-entry water filtration, optimal purification in the form of point-of-use water coolers, under-sink systems and refill stations.
A Global Issue
Of course, unclean tap water is not a problem exclusive to America. Rapid urbanization in developing countries often outpaces the government’s ability to build the necessary infrastructure and is creating a critical need for citizens to clean their own water.
For example, in India alone, a significant number of people have moved into cities in the last decade, and the national market for water purifiers is projected to grow from $2.8 million to just over $5 million by 2028.
Coinciding with this growing global need for clean water is the fact that the underlying technology in water purification systems has undergone tremendous advances since the days of keeping a water pitcher with a filter in the fridge.
The Factors Driving Growth
New features that improve convenience and cleanliness are giving consumers even more reasons to invest in an at-home machine, including:
• Advances in purification: Municipal water systems are often not capable of removing modern contaminants such as pharmaceuticals or PFAS. However, new advanced water purification processes can remove an even greater spectrum of impurities and harmful chemicals that earlier generations of water filters would miss.
• Re-mineralization: Besides cleaning water, some new purification systems can adjust taste to suit consumer preferences. Purifiers can change water’s flavor by releasing trace chemicals into the water as it is cleaned, and drinkers can create custom flavors. Additionally, some systems can make water healthier by adding beneficial minerals and alkalizing and oxygenating water.
• Self-cleaning features: Older purification systems require extensive maintenance, but modern purifiers are largely self-cleaning. Some new systems use activated oxygen, which can create a chemical-free sanitization process on stainless steel parts, including tanks and internal systems, and vastly reduce the time and effort needed to keep them clean while providing extra protection against viruses and bacteria.
• Consumer awareness: A final factor driving increased adoption of water purifiers is growing consumer awareness of the harms caused by single-use plastic water bottles. While they were once considered a status symbol, the growth of the water filtration market has coincided with similar growth in the reusable water bottle market, which is projected to grow to $14.6 billion by 2032.
What This Means For Industry Leaders
Today, dozens of companies and startups are working in the water purification field, and the increased competition is leading to greater innovation, consumer choice and lower prices.
Despite the current positive market trends, I believe there is still significant room for growth in the industry and that we are in the early days of the widespread adoption of water purification technology.
While I’ve found businesses are currently the largest buyer of purified water refill station systems, there is a massive untapped market in direct-to-consumer sales. As clean water becomes a more pressing issue, individuals may increasingly want to take control of their water and feel confident that what they are drinking is safe for them and their families.
That’s why future designs should focus on smaller and simpler units that will be easy to maintain without any specialized knowledge. The more companies can meet consumers directly where they are, the more opportunities they will find to grow their market.
There is no single factor driving growth in the water purification industry. Instead, a combination of advanced, consumer-friendly technology and rising awareness of the fragile nature of our drinking water supply has pushed people worldwide to look for clean water solutions that can give them the confidence that the water they drink is safe and healthy.
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