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Study shows “trend-setters” more likely to have in-home filtration, use bottled water and to have a water softener
2019 Consumer Opinion Study explores marketing segmentation differences

LISLE, Ill. (July 23, 2019) – Younger “trend-setter” consumers are more likely than other groups to use bottled water (84%), in-home water filtration (45%), a refrigerator water filter (49%) and a water softener (28%) than other consumer groups, according to 2019 WQA Consumer Opinion Study. Nearly half (46%) of the adults responding to the study fit in this group, identified by researchers as being those who like to try new things, who buy the best of everything regardless of price, and who “always want to be the first at owning something new.”

By contrast, market segments labeled “environmental” and “economical” were more closely aligned to each other, matching exactly on the numbers who use water filtration (41%), a refrigerator water filter (30%) and a water softener (8%). They were close in bottled water use (69% of “environmental” consumers and 71% of “economical” consumers), though markedly less than the trend-setters.

The independent survey was conducted by Applied Research-West, Inc., in January 2019. The study offers a look into Americans’ attitudes and concerns about their water. It is the seventh time in 15 years that the Water Quality Association has commissioned this professional opinion research team.

While local issues such as hard water or specific contaminants can affect a consumer’s usage of certain technology, breaking users down into marketing segments helps water quality professionals determine effective marketing strategies for different groups of consumers. WQA members can get more robust marketing reports by logging in to the WQA website to view the members-only data.

The trend-setters group, for example, is younger (median age of 36), more racially and ethnically diverse, more likely to have children younger than 18 (43%) and slightly less likely to own a home (61%) than the other groups.

The “environmental” segment, with a median age of 50, is concerned about global warming and a very likely to recycle paper, glass and cans. About 25% of them have children younger than 18 and about 63% of them own their homes.

The “economical” consumers, identified by the researchers as those who are health conscious, concerned with their quality of life, up-to-date on news and who like to comparison shop before buying, have a median age of 57. A full 75% own their homes, and 22% of them have children younger than 18.  More than half of them (51%) have a college degree or higher education, and 38% report an income of more than $75,000, compared to 34% of trend-setters and 27% of environmentalists.

The report, released during the WQA Convention & Exposition in Las Vegas in April, presents the findings of a national online survey conducted by Applied Research-West, Inc. between Jan. 1 and Jan. 30, 2019. A total of 1,405 adults over 18 and living in private households were interviewed. ARW used a random sampling procedure, and the survey results are accurate within +/-2%. The results are representative of all U.S. adults over 18.


WQA is a not-for-profit trade association representing the residential, commercial, and industrial water treatment industry. WQA’s education and professional certification programs have been providing industry-standardized training and credentialing since 1977.  The WQA Gold Seal certification program has been certifying products that contribute to the safe consumption of water since 1959. The WQA Gold Seal program is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Standards Council of Canada (SCC).       

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