Water-the next generationi

The following is prepared by the authors of Market Vision 2000, a national study examining what it takes to have a relationship with consumers in the '90s.If the 1980s was the cappuccino decade, then welcome to the decade of bottled water.Bottled...

The following is prepared by the authors of Market Vision 2000, a national study examining what it takes to have a relationship with consumers in the ’90s.

If the 1980s was the cappuccino decade, then welcome to the decade of bottled water.

Bottled water purchases in the past month

None 69%

1 – 2 times 13%

3 – 4 times 9%

Five or more times 9%

The Market Vision 2000 Study was conducted in December 1992 among 1,000 adult Canadians. Results from the study are reliable +- 4.9%, 19 times in 20.

Not only are consumers shunning conspicuous consumption, they are investing their time learning about and buying health-related products.

And if the essence of life is not coming out of the tap, it is pouring out of plastic bottles.

In a recent market survey conducted by Market Vision, 31% of consumers said they had bought bottled water at least once over the past month.

Almost one in five consumers had bought bottled water four or more times over the past month.

The bottled water industry in Canada had sales in 1992 of $217 million, according to Betsy Woodworth, head of the Canadian Bottled Water Federation.

Woodworth pointed out that the bottled water industry has not been immune to the recession, as growth has slowed to an average of 7% since 1990.

In the late 1980s, the industry was growing at a rate of 25% annually.

The leading domestic distributors in central Canada are Aquaterra and Spring Valley. In Vancouver, the market leader is Canadian Springs.

These names clearly conjure up refreshing, pure thirst quenchers.

However, a new entry into the market, Tynat, has as its primary selling feature, a cobalt blue glass bottle.

Freda Colbourne of Molson Breweries public affairs department told me about this new product.

While Colbourne gave no indication her company was entertaining the idea of introducing a fresh water product to its product line, she did indicate that Molson’s water sources were among the best in the world and that it certainly had the technology to bottle.

Beauty magazines extol the virtues of drinking plenty of water, and the purveyors of the beauty myth, the cosmetics companies, sell age-retarding moisturizers at a premium.

Advertisers looking for promotional partners would do well to consider a fresh, spring water companion. The target demographics are appealing. Those indexing highest include: women aged 18-45; university graduates and professionals; metropolitan areas of 500,000+, and Quebec.

Montreal is an especially hot market for bottled water as about 33% (more than twice the national average) made three or more purchases in the month preceding the survey.

What to expect next?

A major Canadian beer company will begin distributing a fresh water product; Fairweather and Holt Renfrew will give out free bottled water to its shoppers this summer, and a bottled water company will start adding ice to its product line, introducing Ice Water.

David Saffer is executive vice-president of Market Vision, a Toronto-based company specializing in communications, research and strategy. More information about the Market Vision 2000 study is available at (416) 364-4040.