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Recreational Oxygen Canisters: The Next Bottled Water?

Recreational Oxygen Canisters: The Next Bottled Water?

Lauren Carlstrom

Lauren Carlstrom, O+ Team Member | 

If you caught wind of questions about recreational oxygen in a can on ABC’s Shark Tank, you may have a few questions of your own. What did the Sharks think of this company’s oxygen product? Well, no Shark challenged the statement it was the next bottled water. I’m up for that challenge, and will share a few thoughts below. But one thing is clear: This industry has legs. The company mentioned it wanted to grow their retail business – taking it direct, moving away from their current distribution system that utilizes distributors and brokers. Very different from that company but similar in product category, Oxygen Plus – the pioneer of lightweight recreational oxygen, with an estimated 30% share of the market in the United States and 55% of the market when excluding Colorado – will continue to offer its hybrid distribution system working with the best distributors, brokers and retailers in the nation in order to fulfill the mission it’s held since 2003: To make a significant contribution to the well-being of humankind.

People Once Laughed At The Idea of Bottled Water

Just two requests:

1) If you’re going to try to make a joke out of recreational oxygen, think of something fact-based and original. Keep in mind, ambient air – the everyday air we breathe – is NOT the same in concentration of oxygen, but is a significantly less amount, of approximately 21% oxygen. That means Oxygen Plus pure recreational oxygen is nearly five times greater than the concentration of unpolluted, ambient air. Like the higher percentage of alcohol in a shot of liquor, a higher concentration of oxygen makes a difference in its ability to more quickly boost oxygen levels. As the informed consumer knows, you don’t always need pure recreational oxygen – so ONLY breathe it when you want to restore your depleted oxygen levels to normal healthy levels. (So in other words, DON’T do what the Sharks were instructed to do, which was breathe recreational oxygen when inactive. It stands to reason the Shark’s SpO2 readings were already at optimal levels, and that’s why they didn’t “feel” anything). The need for education and knowledge is why Air vs. Oxygen (check out #AirVsOxygen on Instagram) is one of Oxygen Plus’s on-going educational campaigns.

2) Second, note that the comparisons to the book and movie, The Lorax, and the movie, Spaceballs, have already been made.

Oxygen Plus runs a campaign educating consumers about the difference between #AirVsOxygen on Instagram.

Now that the less factual or less educated arguments, such as “I’m already breathing oxygen, why should I pay for it?” have been countered, let’s consider how maybe pop culture had insight into a viable consumer product good (CPG) category – as was the case with bottled water.

Perrier’s advertisement positions the bottled water as “Earth First Soft Drink” in the late 1970s.

Like some recreational canned oxygen, there was confusing and bad press about early stage bottled water. From 1977 to 1981, Perrier positioned itself as “Earth’s first soft drink” – marking the period when bottled water first took commercial dominance. However, it was in the 2000s that the “Tap vs. Flat Bottled Water” market began. During this time, Brita played on connection of tap and toilet water.

Approximately ten years later, the largest non-alcoholic refreshment beverage megabrands were all bottled water. So, despite the negative press, early stage sales, and the bottled water category, took off – with bottled water and the more healthy beverage companies earning the only positive growth numbers. Decades later still, bottled water was the leader among the fastest growth categories with $1B+ sales in the U.S.A., raking in $15B in sales and selling approximately 85 million bottles of water every day (CGP Growth Leaders). Worldwide, the bottled water market is expected to surpass $300 billion in 2020 (The Business Research Company).

In summary, people once laughed at bottled water because they thought they didn’t need it, but they really didn’t understand its value or function. And, that those who did, built a huge, new, healthy consumer CPG category – laughing all the way to the bank.

The Drivers of Bottled Water And Recreational Oxygen: Portability and Survival

For the same reason people buy bottled water, those who buy recreational oxygen in a can see the value of its portability and convenience.

As mentioned earlier, canned oxygen like Oxygen Plus is convenient because it is readily available and extremely lightweight. The 137 million wellness-minded Americans who actively travel, play sports, work long hours and party even longer, are prime target markets for bottled water AND canned oxygen marketers, as the nutrients work together to nourish the human mind and body. The essence of life, water and oxygen, support the body’s proper functioning and ability to survive and perform. Optimum levels of water and oxygen in the body ensures the immune functions work, helping to reduce fatigue and heightens the ability to focus and recover from damage caused by the strains of modern life. Key athletes have known this and use oxygen. And it is now becoming mainstream in sports and with those with active lifestyles. If properly breathed before, during and immediately after exercise, Oxygen Plus can help in three ways: 1) improved physical performance (Sperlich et. al., 2011), 2) faster recovery in-between exercise (Oussaidene et. al., 2013) and 3) endurance, so a person can train longer (White et al 2013). An oxygen boost can help with performance, recovery and endurance by reducing blood lactate concentration (Stellingwerff et. al., 2005; Stellingwerff et. al., 2006) and restoring SpO2 levels (White et. al 2013).

In addition to sharing the convenience and portability of bottled water, recreational oxygen in a can is also driven by the human instinct to survive.

During the recent unclean water crisis in Flint, Michigan, demand for bottled water heightened. Nestle Waters North America donated more than 7.5 million bottles of bottled water. Likewise, when there is a wildfire or a dangerous rise in the level of air pollution in a city, demand for recreational oxygen increases so people can breathe and feel better. From air pollution alone, demand for recreational oxygen is increasing in India, China, Africa, the U.K. and the U.S.A. More than 95% of the world's population breathes dangerous air. Below is a list of more frightening facts about air pollution, and why Oxygen Plus donates a fixed dollar amount of every canister sold to causes that fight for the clean air crisis:

  • Exposure to air pollution contributed to more than 6 million deaths worldwide in 2018.
  • Air pollution is the fourth highest cause of death globally, after high blood pressure, diet and smoking, and the greatest environmental health risk, playing a role in increasing the risk of stroke, heart attack, lung cancer and chronic lung disease.
  • More than 3 million people die prematurely each year from outdoor pollution and, without action, deaths will double by 2050.
  • In the UK alone, illegal levels of NO2 cause more than 60 premature deaths a day.
  • In Africa, air pollution kills three times more people than malnutrition.

Unlike Bottled Water, Recreational Oxygen In A Can Has Several Uses And Functional Benefits

Perhaps the greatest difference, and larger opportunity with recreational oxygen canisters, is the myriad uses and benefits inherent when supplementing with oxygen.

From the consumer perspective, when a person’s SpO2 drops below optimal levels, he or she can feel more sluggish and depleted. In Boosting Your Energy, A Special Report from the Harvard Medical Review, it is noted that 77% of Americans cite “lack of energy” as a top health concern. In addition to lack of sleep and poor nourishment, depleted oxygen levels can result in feelings of exhaustion. Optimal oxygen levels are also common when traveling to higher elevation, traveling by commercial air, during and after vigorous exercise, while consuming alcohol, and when breathing polluted indoor or outdoor air.

From an industry perspective, portable oxygen also pairs well with the $13.4B CPG consumable energy and recovery product markets, which are growing but seeking products that are “clean” and natural (Grand View Research). Further, overlapping with the larger $44.5 million dollar oxygen category, which is expected to reach $2.1 billion in 2023, the portable recreational oxygen category is poised to ride a wave of wellness that is not unlike bottled water (Research and Markets). Further, in a new report on the Recreational Oxygen Equipment Market By Product, Oxygen Plus, Inc. is named a “major player…involved in R&D activities for the development of cutting edge products" in a global recreational oxygen equipment market that is expected to grow at a CAGR of around 16.3% from 2019 to 2026, reaching a market value of around $307 million by 2026 (Acumen Research and Consulting).

So, is recreational oxygen the next bottled water? Well, it took bottled water 15 to 20 years to become an established category, and there are some intriguing product and category similarities. This week, Oxygen Plus will celebrate its 16th birthday. So, time will tell if recreational oxygen in a canister is the next bottled water. In the meantime, Oxygen Plus is here to elevate the customers who get it and to answer any questions – or respond to Perri-air jokes surfacing from the eighties – about this ever-growing, healthy product category.

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Resources:

CPG Growth Leaders, Strategic Analysis, IRI Worldwide, 2016.

The Business Research Company.

Sperlich, B., Zinner, C., Krueger, M., Wegrzyk, J., Mester, J., & Holmberg, H. C. (2011). Ergogenic effect of hyperoxic recovery in elite swimmers performing high‐intensity intervals. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 21(6), 421-429.

Oussaidene, K., Prieur, F., Bougault, V., Borel, B., Matran, R., & Mucci, P. (2013). Cerebral oxygenation during hyperoxia-induced increase in exercise tolerance for untrained men. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 113(8), 2047-2056.

White, J., Dawson, B., Landers, G., Croft, K., & Peeling, P. (2013). Effect of supplemental oxygen on post-exercise inflammatory response and oxidative stress. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 113(4), 1059-1067.

Stellingwerff, T., LeBlanc, P. J., Hollidge, M. G., Heigenhauser, G. J., & Spriet, L. L. (2006). Hyperoxia decreases muscle glycogenolysis, lactate production, and lactate efflux during steady-state exercise. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, 290(6), E1180-E1190.

Grand View Research, 1-68038-951-7, July 2017.

Research and Markets, Sept 15, 2017.

Acumen Research and Consulting. Recreational Oxygen Equipment Market By Product: Concentrators, Bar Equipment, others; By Application: Athletics/Sports, Medical, others - Global Industry Size, Share, Trends and Forecast 2019 – 2026. https://www.acumenresearchandconsulting.com/recreational-oxygen-equipment-market. Retrieved October 6, 2019.

Bottled Water, Fatigue, Fitness, Health, Oxygen Research, Pollution, Portable, Recreational Oxygen, Shark Tank, Sports, Supplements