Written by – Siyathma at OmeBiz
The minimum price would be in the range of Rs. 40-50 for a 500 ml bottle, while a more expensive bottle of water would cost about Rs.120-250 or even more. So, why are some people willing to pay more for water or even buy bottled water in the first place?
The bottled water industry is strangely a growing and booming industry. It is strange because it is easily available to us and even then we choose to purchase plenty of bottled water making this industry very profitable.
In Sri Lanka, it is not as safe to drink water straight from a tap, most people consider it safer to drink bottled or filtered water. As there was a scam going on for a long time, where most shop owners started selling tap water in bottles and resealing the bottles. This made consumers purchase water bottles at a higher price in order to ensure they only got the best. It is also easily available in supermarkets to buy on the go, rather than taking the time to boil the water and carry it around or even when they buy water at a restaurant. Other reasons could be such as the added minerals and vitamins in these water bottles or even the option of having flavoured water.
That being said, most people would purchase the cheapest option when it comes to bottled water or at least a rational and economic man would choose the cheapest option. However, there are consumers who are willing to pay a premium price on water bottles. Why? What additional benefits do they give from a ‘normal’ priced water bottle?
The best marketers can sell anything to anyone
Why are consumers willing to purchase expensive bottled water?
Slogans and Nutrients
Aquafresh is a local brand. Their slogan promises that they sell “Water that is as pure as nature intended it to be”. Aquafresh can be found in any supermarket or in any shop with a customized label depending on the place it is sold at. This is more expensive as compared to the rest of the bottled water brands available in Sri Lanka.
They have also introduced alkaline water which goes by the name ‘Alkafresh’. This is aimed at the target consumer who is more health conscious. It has a pH balance of 9+ which includes trace levels of magnesium and calcium carbonate which would neutralize acid levels in the body.
Evian is an international brand that is imported to Sri Lanka, whose slogan states “Live young”. Evian water is from the heart of the French Alps which is supposed to contain low levels of sodium and balanced mineral composition, which makes it most suitable for mothers and babies.
Evian also sells facial sprays which have unique mineral balances and neutral pH which will help you freshen up and hydrate your skin.
OLU Tropical Water is also a local brand which has a similar approach to Aquafresh. They promise that “their water is natural mineral water that is pure and distinct exactly the way nature has made it”.
The Islander is a locally produced flavoured water, the idea was brought to life by Rovini Illukkumbura. The zero sugar sparkling flavoured water which comes in four flavours peach, lemon and lime, watermelon and mint. This is produced for the target consumer who does not like to drink plain water. These consumers usually have soft drinks which are quite harmful to their health, this water provides a better and healthier alternative.
Looks do matter
Most consumers are willing to purchase bottled water at a higher price because of the bottle itself. The more aesthetically pleasing the packaging is the more willing are consumers to pay a higher price.
Plastic has a detrimental effect on the environment. Most consumers nowadays have slowly started becoming more conscious of the impact they are making towards the environment. Hence, they would prefer to buy less plastic as much as possible. This means that glass bottles are more in demand, even if it is more expensive. Also, they would be able to reuse these glass bottles, unlike the plastic bottles. Brands such as OLU and Evian has made this option available. Evian has gone the extra mile by collaborating with well-known designers and creating limited edition bottles.
Brand Ambassadors and Sponsorships
Brand Ambassadors are the best way to raise awareness about the brand, they represent what exactly the brand is to a particular target audience.
Millennials who are huge fans of certain athletes, actors or actresses, models or even bloggers with a large online presence, want anything and everything they sell. Businesses can take advantage of this to boost their own sales and differentiate their products from their competitors. Having a good social media presence as a brand is the best way to reach consumers nowadays.
Another great way to bring brand awareness is to become a sponsor for certain events. OLU is the hydration partner for Colombo Fashion Week, which is a huge event in Sri Lanka that happens annually. This would definitely ensure that the right kind of attention is brought to the brand.
These are a few reasons as to why consumers are willing to buy expensive bottled water, which still remains to be a very strange concept. However, it is all about differentiating the brand from the competitors.