Based on the results of the WQA's recent survey.

Consumers consider taste to be the primary assessment factor for water purity.
The Water Quality Association (WQA) shared with us some of the highlights of its recent “National Consumer Water Survey” - POU/POE-related information that could prove most helpful to your company's marketing efforts. The WQA offers these “business-planning gems”:

  • Taste is the most important factor driving consumer use of filtered or bottled water. Also, taste is considered to be the primary assessment of water purity. Secondary factors are smell and clarity.

  • The transient nature of the American consumer is one factor that negatively impacts sales; people can be reluctant to invest in a home appliance when they don't expect to remain in that home for more than a couple of years. Some factors that could mitigate that reluctance include leasing units, ease of self-maintenance and including maintenance costs in the regular payments.

  • Consumers have very little knowledge about contaminants and their local municipal water source. This could be an opportunity to educate consumers and present your company's message.

  • Consumers vary in their concern regarding the safety of their household water supply, depending on where they live. Residents in large urban areas are less confident than those in smaller urban areas that their municipal water does not present health risks. Large urban dwellers also are more concerned about timesavings. Clearly, if you're marketing in a large urban setting, emphasizing the health benefits of filtration and offering timesaving services will appeal.

  • Most suburban consumers prefer not to drink municipal water due to concerns regarding its safety. They also associate good-tasting water with “clean” water and tend to distrust a municipality's claim of 100 percent contaminant-free water. Suburban consumers say packaging and brand name recognition are primary decision-making factors when choosing either bottled water or a filtration system. Price is a secondary factor, and they will try a brand that is priced for promotion.

  • Most consumers consider that POU filters, refrigerator lines and bottled water are of the same quality.

  • The single most important factor to consumers about their water softener installer is the ability to answer questions, followed closely by product/system knowledge. It's evident that by having a well-educated and well-trained staff, your business will improve and prosper. Having a certified installer with a CWS patch on a clean uniform will just add further to the impression that your installers can make as the direct representative of your business.

A startling difference between WQA's 2001 and 2004 National Consumer Water Surveys was a 20 percent increase in the number of consumers concerned about their water; however, it also is clear that marketing and sales based on aesthetics (good taste) will go much further those based on fear.