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Jeju Samdasoo losing clout in bottled water market.

Jeju Samdasoo, the most popular bottled water brand, has been losing its market share to other brands as Lotte, Nongshim and other producers aggressively going after its customers, according to industry officials Friday.

E-mart and other retailers have launched their own bottled water brands, which are substantially cheaper than Jeju Samdasoo, successfully appealing to price-sensitive consumers.

Produced by Jeju Province Development and sold under a consignment contract with Kwangdong Pharmaceutical, Jeju Samdasoo has maintained the country's No.1 bottled-water brand since its launch in 1998. But its market share has been declining since 2015.

It held 45.1 percent of market share in 2015, but its market share was down to 34.8 percent of the market by the end of 2018 due to supply and delivery problems stemming from a deadly accident that occurred at a manufacturing plant in October 2018. Production of Jeju Samdasoo has been halted for a month after a worker was killed after getting caught in a machine at the plant.

Although the company recovered its market share after resuming production, it fell by more than 7 percentage points to 38.5 percent in April considering the fact that it claimed a market share of 45.1 percent in 2015.

On the other hand, Lotte Chilsung Icis and Nongshim Baeksansoo are the most significant challengers. Lotte Chilsung Icis, which held a market share of 10.4 percent in 2017, rose to 13.9 percent in April. Nongshim's Baeksansoo boosted its market share from 7.7 percent to 8.6 percent over the same period.

"Since its launch in 2013, Baeksansoo is continuing to grow, securing around 8.5 percent of the market share," a Nongshim official said. "We think the fatal accident, which occurred in Jeju Samdasoo factory, has influenced consumers to choose alternative brands and eventually stick to them after realizing that there are no significant differences in taste."

Private brand bottled water products, developed and sold solely to consumers who visit specific discount stores, are also expanding their market share with relatively low prices and guaranteed quality.

"Our signature bottled water brand is one of the company's biggest assets, accounting for nearly a third of its bottled water sales," a Homeplus official said. "Boasting low prices and high quality, private-label products are very popular among consumers."

According to Euromonitor, the domestic market for bottled water is forecast to reach 2 trillion won ($1.7 billion) by 2023 from 1.15 trillion won in 2018.

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Publication:The Korea Times News (Seoul, Korea)
Date:Jun 7, 2019
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