Crystal brand to go regional
Sermsuk Plc, the maker of Crystal drinking water, hopes to offer the brand region-wide by the year 2025.
Lester Teck Chuan Tan, the company's president, said Sermsuk is conducting a feasibility study of marketing Crystal drinking water in the Asean market, particularly in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV).
"Its my aspiration to make Crystal a regional drinking water brand one day," Mr Tan said.
He said the company could possibly take advantage of synergy with Thai Beverage's network in the CLMV market for drinking water expansion in future.
Before branching out into the CLMV market, the company wants to strengthen its position in the domestic market.
Sermsuk plans to build a new factory for Crystal drinking water somewhere in Thailand this year. The investment cost will be about 300 million baht, the same as for the existing plant in Surat Thani province.
"We want to build drinking water somewhere that can deliver our drinking water to customers in a 200-kilometre radius for good return on investment and cost management efficiency," Mr Tan said.
Crystal drinking water is produced at 18 factories across the country with total production capacity of 1,200 million litres a year.
The brand has a roughly 20% market share, up from 17% last year. With an aggressive marketing plan, the company expects market share of Crystal to increase to 25% by the end of this year.
The market value of drinking water as a whole is estimated at 35 billion baht. Overall sales of drinking water fell 2% last year because of a slowdown among grass-roots customers.
Moreover, fewer people are leaving the house for activities, resulting in less consumption of drinking water.
Mr Tan said he expects better growth in the drinking water industry this year.
Purit Bhirombhakdi, chief executive of Boonrawd Trading Co Ltd, the distributor of Singha drinking water, said his company will adjust its business strategy to claw back market share this year.
Mr Purit said he accepts that Singha has lost its market leadership. Singha drinking water's market share fell to 20% last year from 27% in the recent past.
The main customer group of Singha drinking water is 35 years old and up. The brand will therefore expand its customer base to younger people this year using youthful presenters and brand ambassadors.
"The price war in Thailand for drinking water is very fierce," Mr Purit said. "We will keep away from a price strategy. We aim to gain market share with profit this year."