Consumer preferences for household water treatment products in Andhra Pradesh, India
Poulos, C., Yang, J-C., Patil, S. R., Pattanayak, S., Wood, S., Goodyear, L., & Gonzalez, J. (2012). Consumer preferences for household water treatment products in Andhra Pradesh, India. Social Science and Medicine, 75(4), 738-746. DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.02.059
Over 5 billion people worldwide are exposed to unsafe water. Given the obstacles to ensuring sustainable improvements in water supply infrastructure and the unhygienic handling of water after collection, household water treatment and storage (HWTS) products have been viewed as important mechanisms for increasing access to safe water. Although studies have shown that HWTS technologies can reduce the likelihood of diarrheal illness by about 30%, levels of adoption and continued use remain low. An understanding of household preferences for HWTS products can be used to create demand through effective product positioning and social marketing, and ultimately improve and ensure commercial sustainability and scalability of these products. However, there has been little systematic research on consumer preferences for HWTS products. This paper reports the results of the first state-of-the-art conjoint analysis study of HWTS products. In 2008, we conducted a conjoint analysis survey of a representative sample of households in Andhra Pradesh (AP), India to elicit and quantify household preferences for commercial HWTS products. Controlling for attribute non-attendance in an error components mixed logit model, the study results indicate that the most important features to respondents, in terms of the effect on utility, were the type of product, followed by the extent to which the product removes pathogens, the retail outlet and, the time required to treat 10 L. Holding all other product attributes constant, filters were preferred to combination products and chemical additives. Department stores and weekly markets were the most favorable sales outlets, followed by mobile salespeople. In general, households do not prefer to purchase HWTS products at local shops. Our results can inform the types of products and sales outlets that are likely to be successful in commercial HWTS markets in AP, as well as the influence of different pricing and financing strategies on product demand and uptake.