India’s Eureka Forbes Switches from Direct Selling to Retail

Marzin Shroff, CEO, Eureke Forbes


Thirty-three years after stepping into the market with a door-to-door, direct sales business model, the water purifier brand Aquaguard will now shed it's business model for a presence in brick and mortar stores.

The move is significant since the Shapoor-Pallonji-Group-owned Eureka Forbes had avoided taking Aquaguard, its flagship water purifier, into retail stores in the past, launching a value-for-money product called AquaSure instead, for retail stores.

In the new scheme of things, Aquaguard will be available in modern trade and upscale general retail outlets, while AquaSure will target mom-pop stores. Aquaguard will be priced between Rs 8,990 and Rs 22,990, while AquaSure will be available between Rs 6,490 and Rs 20,990.

Eureka Forbes has also just launched a new premium water purifier called Dr Aquaguard that will provide customised water solutions based on consumer needs. This will be pushed through direct sales only, says Marzin Shroff, CEO, direct sales & senior vice-president, marketing, Eureka Forbes. It will be available between Rs 8,990 and Rs 26,990.

Eureka Forbes, whose promoter group is the largest shareholder in Tata Sons, will also increase its presence online by tying up with etailers to push Aquaguard.

Dr Aquaguard, on the other hand, will be pushed through the company's own website, which provides the option to buy online.

The move to embrace online and offline retail, incidentally, comes as the Rs 3,400-crore organised water purifier market increasingly gets crowded and competitive.

Most rivals of Aquaguard such as Pureit from Hindustan Unilever, Kent RO, A O Smith, Livpure from Luminous Water Technologies are available offline and online.

While Eureka Forbes has a 58% overall share of the water purifier market, claiming it is the leader, (the company did not share individual market share details of Aquaguard and AquaSure), it is lower than what it was earlier. At one point, we had two-third of the (water purifier) market. We would like to go back to that position, says Shroff, who is part of the senior management team at Eureka Forbes.

Besides the push into retail stores, the company has also brought on board a brand ambassador for Aquaguard in Bollywood star Madhuri Dixit and her husband Sriram Nene.

Apart from this, the company is also expected to expand distribution into tier II, III and IV markets in a bid to ramp up its presence in small towns and cities.

These steps are expected to help Eureka Forbes further improve sales of its water purifier business, which gives it bulk of its domestic revenues. Sixty per cent of Eureka Forbes' Rs 3,300 crore turnover comes from the domestic market alone.


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