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Growing Demand Projected For Water, Air Purification Systems
Nov 13, 2008
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Demand for consumer water purification and air cleaning systems is projected to increase 4.4% per year to US$1.5 billion by 2012, according to research firm The Freedonia Group.

Gains will be driven by consumer concerns about the quality of the air and water in the home, and greater awareness of the healthful and aesthetic benefits of the systems.

The aftermarket also plays an important role in the industry, with sales of replacement filters and membranes forecast to grow 4.8% annually through 2012.

The Group said that water purification systems that feature conventional filtration media accounted for the majority of demand for water systems in 2007, with 61% of sales value. However, it said, faster growth will be registered by higher value reverse osmosis and distillation systems. These systems can process a broader range of contaminants compared to conventional filters.

Among air cleaners, conventional filtration systems accounted for the largest share of value demand with 47% in 2007, because they offer thorough air cleaning and minimal to no ozone production. However, the Group said, electrostatic air cleaners are projected to achieve slightly faster gains through 2012 because they offer improved efficiency, quieter functioning, and low operating costs. Many consumers have shifted away from ionic air cleaners and ozone generators out of concern regarding the amount of ozone— a lung irritant— the systems generate.

In 2007, water purification and air cleaning system demand was dominated by equipment intended for use in a limited area of the house. Point-of-use (POU) water purification systems, which are installed at a single outlet, had the larger share of demand for water systems in 2007. Similarly, portable air cleaners, which are designed to treat the air in a single room, accounted for the larger share of sales of air cleaners in 2007.

The Group said that both POU water purification systems and portable air cleaners are expected to post faster growth through 2012 compared to their whole-house counterparts.

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