This article isn’t going to make me any new friends among the owners in the water ionizer industry. They already hate me anyway, so I might as well just get to it. How much worse can it get that death threats?
I like to know what things actually cost before I buy something. Knowing the cost and the selling price allows me to decide if the difference represents good value to me. I don’t mind spending money as long as I perceive that a purchase brings me as much or more value that the effort that I put into making the money.
A retail price of $2,000 to $2,500 for a water ionizer really bugs me because it is just too high when compared to the cost of the machines. It has bugged me for a long time and was one of a number or reasons why I left the water ionizer industry. I have always been a champion of lower prices for water ionizers, and it is very satisfying to see the prices are finally starting to come down.
Water ionizers provide incredible health benefits, but they will never go “mainstream” if people can’t afford them. The prices of the leading water ionizers should be a lot cheaper. I know how much these machines cost when the come out of Asia, and believe me when I tell you that the prices could be a lot lower. You can verify the fact for yourself by subscribing to a website called www.alibaba.com. For example, I first found out about the Chanson VS70 under counter water ionizer on Alibaba as it was advertised by the actual manufacturer for $500. Of course when I tried to buy a unit directly from the manufacturer, the North American distributor jumped in and stopped the transaction. I’m not trying to point a finger at Chanson specifically, because the cost of the actual machine for all of the major brands is similar. The distributors try to clamp down on Alibaba, but every once in awhile, a distributor from an Asian country receives a shipment that they want to sell off quickly. None of the brands are exempt from this practice.
Price mark ups for electronics (a water ionizer is an electronic machine) generally start out with very high with huge profit margins per item because of low volumes. As the public accepts a new technology and volumes increase, or the technology improves, prices typically start moving down until the the profit margins reach a point where new players don’t bother playing the game.
The water ionizer industry has not followed the “normal” pattern of lower prices over time. In fact, the prices in the industry have been going up, when they should have been going down. The water ionizer companies have convinced the public of the legitimacy of their mantra “bigger is better” to justify the rising prices. The machines are not providing the public with more healthy drinking water, but they are making their bank accounts more healthy so at least something is getting more healthy!
Bigger is not better! There is absolutely no evidence that more power, more plates, or bigger plates provide any greater health benefit. More power and more plates do allow for a wider spectrum of pH and ORP output levels, but the extreme levels are never to be used for drinking water.
The History of Water Ionizer Pricing:
In the water ionizer industry, the benchmark price of a top level retail water ionizer was set by the MLM company Enagic at $4,000 six years ago. The main competition was Ion Life, who sold their Jupiter Melody for $1,500. Customers essentially had a choice of a stronger $4,000 MLM product that was supported by excellent marketing, or a decent $1,500 unit that had much less marketing effort behind it.
During the last three years, new direct marketing companies led by Life Ionizers and Tyent have been promoting their products heavily on the internet. The two companies have utilized what they both claim to be “independent” review sites. The review sites are not independent at all, but they have proven to be a very effective marketing tool. The two companies have been able to move ahead of Ion Life as the low cost “alternative” to Enagic even though they price their machines in the $2,000 to $2,500 price range. Despite the complete lack of evidence that their machines offer superior health benefits, both companies have been able to convince the public that their “bigger is better” strategy justifies the higher prices.
The New Economic Reality:
When the economy is weak, discretionary spending slows down. Until the public becomes aware of how important proper hydration and becoming alkaline are to their health, items like water ionizers are viewed as a discretionary purchase. Unless you are sick and the medical profession is unable to provide a solution, a $2,000 water machine in just not practical for most people when times are tough.
We have already begun to witness the downward pressure on prices in the water ionizer industry that we have not seen before. Companies are holding “never ending” sales that have effectively reduced retail prices. While the retail prices remain in place, you don’t have to look very hard to find deals. For example, the Tyent Turbo can be purchased almost anywhere for $2,195 without negotiating, and until recently, the price was $2,495. The same goes for Life Ionizer, Chanson, and now Tyent’s newly reintroduced KYK models.
Breaking the $1,500 Barrier
My favorite water ionizer these days is the EOS Platinum. It is my favorite, because it is the most sophisticated machine on the market and it sells for under $1,500 in both the USA and Canada. My testing indicates that the machine is as good or better than any water ionizer on the market.
The Canadian distributor for EOS appears to be doing a good job of building the brand name and customer loyalty, and developing a dealer network. The American distributor has made a series of poor business decisions and is seeking a new business partner to inject capital, but has been unsuccessful to date. I hope that someone with good business skills and proper funding will come along and take over the EOS brand in the USA before the existing distributor goes out of business. It would be a shame for the US market to lose this great product.
Bad news for one company can provide a window of opportunity for another company. In a well orchestrated manouver reflective of the marketing brilliance and savvy (or ruthless depending upon one’s perspective) business skills of the Tyent USA owner,owner, Tyent USA is bringing the KYK machine back in the USA at price is $1,525. The actual retail price is higher than $1,525, but everyone is selling the machine for $1,525 which means the machine is selling for $1,525.
The irony in this situation is incredible, because it was Tyent that was responsible for crushing KYK in 2009. When Tyent was trying to destroy KYK (which were made by EOS), Tyent bought EOS machines themselves which they called IonQuench 8080. Tyent then had their ionizersreviewed.com website declare the IonQuench machine the “best value” on the market. Tyent then used the slogan “say bye bye to KYK” in their IonQuench advertising. Once Tyent had destroyed KYK and repackaged it as their own product, IonQuench has disappeared and KYK is the new “star” on ionizersreviewed.com. The consumer doesn’t have a chance!
I haven’t tested the KYK Generation 2 machine, but I suspect it could be a good machine as it is based upon the EOS machine. When Tyent begins to aggressively promote its “new” KYK machine with its well oiled marketing program, I assume the KYK machine will be a business success. The good news is that a widely promoted $1,500 machine will put pressure on competitors to lower prices. How the new KYK line affects sales of the more expensive Tyent products will be interesting to watch. One way or another, it sure looks to me like Tyent intends to become the dominant player or even take over the water ionizer industry, and I wouldn’t bet against them.
Now that the $1,500 barrier has been broken, it is just a matter of time until the price of the more expensive machines will drop. I expect that the owners of Tyent and Life and Chanson will fight the good fight for awhile, but they will eventually have to lower their prices or lose their market share tocompetitive machines that work just as well. Consumers aren’t stupid and once they become aware of the truth, they will dictate the pricing instead of the owners.
Why $1,500 Instead of $1,000?
Let’s say for the sake of example, that the price of a machine that comes out of Asia is $500. It is easy to see that the importer/distributor is justified in charging up to an additional $500 to cover their cost of shipping, marketing, tech support, administrative costs, warranty, and of course profit. If and when water ionizers become accepted as a mainstream product, you will see the machines for sale for $1,000 at places like Costco or Walmart. The big chains will force the importers/distributors to take less profit in exchange for widespread distribution. At that point in time, the industry will be fully mature and dealers won’t be needed.
Until water ionizers become a mainstream product, the heavy lifting in terms of creating awareness and educating the public will continue to be performed by the dealers. These hard working and dedicated people need to be paid for their efforts. It seems reasonable and fair that if the manufacturer charges $500 and the importer/distributor charges $500, then the dealers should receive $500 as well.
The Antioxidant Filter Factor:
Now that the electricity free Antioxidant Filter machines that provide the same health benefits and provide pure water can be purchased for $400, the consumer has a viable low cost alternative to water ionizers. While some consumers are going to continue to want to purchase a water ionizer for the “full spectrum” pH benefits that they provide, there is no question that a significant percentage of consumers will opt for the low cost Antioxidant Filter alternative.
When the water ionizer companies face up to the new reality, they will have to lower their prices and that means everybody wins. The consumer wins because the value is better. The dealers win because the market for alkaline water machines will expand because the machines are more affordable. Even the distributors win as they will be able to sell their replacement filters to more and more people.
As the new reality sets in, I expect distributors and dealers will be reducing their inventory levels to make way for the Antioxidant Filters, or at least a reduced demand for the higher priced water ionizers. I expect that we will see some pretty impressive sale prices on water ionizers this holiday season, even if the advertised prices remain the same.
If you do your homework, you should be able to purchase the more expensive water ionizers at a significant discount from the current $2,000 to $2,500 levels. If you want to take advantage of the deals but are having trouble finding them, send me an email or Skype me, and I will point you in the right direction.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.