Marketing Household Water Treatment: Willingness to Pay Results from an Experiment in Rural Kenya. Water 2014, 6, 1873-1886; doi:10.3390/w6071873.
Annalise G. Blum 1, Clair Null 2 and Vivian Hoffmann 3,*
1 Department of Environmental Sciences & Engineering, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 148 Rosenau Hall, Chapel Hill, NC 27516, USA; E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, 1518 Clifton Road, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA; E-Mail: email@example.com
3 International Food Policy Research Institute, 2033 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20006, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed; E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Despite increasing availability of household water treatment products, demand in developing countries remains low. Willingness to pay for water treatment products and factors that affect demand are not well understood. In this study, we estimate willingness to pay for WaterGuard, a dilute chlorine solution for point-of-use water treatment, using actual purchase decisions at randomly assigned prices. Secondly, we identify household characteristics that are correlated with the purchase decision. Among a sample of 854 respondents from 107 villages in rural Kenya, we find that mean willingness to pay is approximately 80% of the market price. Although only 35% of sample households purchased WaterGuard at the market price, 67% of those offered a 50% discount purchased the product.
A marketing message emphasizing child health did not have a significant effect on purchase behavior, overall or among the subset of households with children under five. These findings suggest that rural Kenyans are willing to pay for WaterGuard at low prices but are very sensitive to increasing price. Households with young children that could benefit the most from use of WaterGuard do not appear to be more likely to purchase the product, and a marketing message designed to target this population was ineffective.