Point-of-Use Consumer Water Treatment Systems

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Water Treatment

This study covers the United States consumer market for point-of-use (POU) water treatment systems primarily designed to decrease the amount of contaminants and minerals in households’ water. Systems purchased by consumers for personal use outside of the home (e.g., during leisure activities, pleasure, work, or school) are also considered, as are consumables, such as replacement filters, membranes, and salt.

Refrigerator water filters and pitchers are excluded because these systems are originally sold to equipment manufacturers and only the replacement units are sold to consumers.

Historical data for 2009, 2014, and 2019 and forecasts to 2024 and 2029 are provided for POU consumer water treatment system demand both in units and in current dollars (which are not adjusted to account for inflation).

Key breakouts for POU consumer water treatment systems include technology, system, and region.

Technologies include:

  • conventional filtration (adsorptive or mechanical filtration media or the combination of the two)
  • reverse osmosis (RO) and other membranes (e.g., ultrafiltration, microfiltration)
  • distillation
  • other technologies:
    • magnetic and deionizing
    • ultraviolet (UV) disinfection
    • ozone treatment
    • atmospheric disinfection

The technology under which a particular product is classified is determined by the highest level of treatment in that system. For instance, if a product includes both conventional filtration and reverse osmosis, it is labeled as a reverse osmosis system because that technology removes the most contaminants.

Types of POU systems include:

  • under-the-sink
  • countertop
  • faucet-mounted
  • flow-through
  • other POU systems (e.g., atmospheric, showerhead, water bottles, filter straws)

The main designation for systems is the point at which treatment occurs, entry or use. Point-of-entry treatment, which is not included in this study, is defined as treatment at the location where water enters the household for the first time, prior to being dispersed to the home’s faucets. Point-of-use treatment is defined as treatment at the point where water will be consumed or used for other purposes.

Consumables are also included in this study:

  • replacement water filters
  • replacement membranes (e.g., spiral-wound, hollow-fiber, plate and frame, large tube)

Demand for POU consumer water treatment systems is also segmented by the following US geographic regions: Northeast, Midwest, South, and West.

Water Treatment

Demand by Technology

US demand for point-of-use consumer water treatment systems is forecast to rise 3.9% per year to $1.1 billion in 2024. Conventional filtration equipment will remain the most use point-of-use water treatment system type and exhibit healthy growth through 2024 due to:

  • the low cost and ease-of-installation of these systems, which makes them popular entry-level purchases
  • rising consumer concerns about drinking water quality, increasing the number of first-time purchasers

Nevertheless, reverse osmosis and other membrane systems will see faster growth through 2024, driven by the rising competitiveness of these higher value systems with conventional filtration equipment in under-the-sink applications. Under-the-sink systems are able to accommodate reverse osmosis systems well as they:

  • can readily conceal a storage tank for purified water
  • have an accessible drain to remove waste water
  • can be connected to a secondary faucet so the rate of water outflow is not an issue

Additionally, when coupled with other water treatment technologies, a reverse osmosis system essentially provides the highest level of water treatment available on the market today.

Albeit from a smaller base, rapid anticipated growth for other technologies, such as ultraviolet (UV), will aid gains in the POU water treatment market. While still very niche, UV technology is an increasingly desirable component of a comprehensive POU system.

Water Treatment

Demand by Region

In the point-of-use consumer water treatment market, growth on the regional level is influenced by a diverse set of factors, including:

  • population and household growth
  • housing activity in region
  • hardness of water in the region

Through 2024, demand for point-of-use consumer water treatment systems is projected to increase 3.9% annually to $1.1 billion. The South, followed by the West, will remain the largest regional markets for these products:

  • The South is expected to see the fastest growth and account for the largest share of gains – 41% – of any region through 2024
  • The West is projected to contribute 27% of gains through 2024, driven by both population and household growth. Additionally, prolonged droughts in the region have emphasized both water conservation and the need for water treatment systems to filter out concentrated contaminants.

The Northwest and Midwest will also register solid growth, supported by consumer concern over water quality, particularly because of aging infrastructure. For instance:

  • The Northeast has some of the oldest cities and infrastructure in the country, which can lead to the need for water treatment systems.
  • In the Midwest, Michigan, Ohio, and other states have experienced well-publicized water contamination issues in the historical period, leading consumers to seek out water treatment solutions.

However, in both regions, faster growth will be restrained by housing completions, households, and population that lag the national average.

Water Treatment

Pricing Trends

The average price for point-of-use consumer water treatment systems is forecast to grow 1.0% per year through 2024, reaching $62 per unit. Pricing for consumer water treatment systems depends largely on the complexity of the system and the technology employed.

Overall price growth will also be supported by increasing sales of under-the-sink and countertop units. These comprehensive treatment systems are the most expensive point-of-use units in the consumer water treatment market, and they are expected to continue to increase in value as higher-level technologies (e.g., membrane filtration) gain market share and water treatment technologies are combined to create comprehensive systems.

Pricing for faucet-mounted and flow-through products has fallen in the historical period due to increasing competition.

Water Treatment

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