£40million growth for bathroom market

Higher value products are underpinning optimism for bathroom retailers

06 Jun, 19

Bathroom sales will grow by around £40million in 2019, with real term growth returning in 2020 for most product sectors,  has been revealed by a bathroom market report from MTW Resesarch.

£40million growth for bathroom market


Based on data from 130 bathroom suppliers, the report identified rising ‘pent up demand’ in the bathroom market and highlighted growing latent demand for several sectors.

According to MTW Research Bathroom retailers reported healthy levels of enquiries, but consumers haev remained reticent to commit to purchase due to Brexit paralysis and economic uncertainties.

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Discussing the 200 page report, MTW director Mark Waddy pointed to “strong fundamentals for the bathroom market bubbling under the surface.”

He explained: “400,000 first time buyers in 2019, rising disposable incomes, consumers delaying bathroom refits for three years, growth in experiential bathroom retailing and some great product innovation across the bathroom market are just some trends waiting to boost bathroom sales as soon as Brexit uncertainties are resolved.”

However, MTW identified a growing polarisation of the bathroom market, with higher value products underpinning optimism for bathroom retailers.

The report also discussed bathroom design trends with the room’s evolution as a ‘retreat’ giving way to more multi-faceted demands in terms of multigenerational users and meeting design trends

MTW highlighted the design trends supporting growth for bathroom manufacturers and retailers, which it states was urban, luxury, industrial and geometric design trends.

In addition, it  also covered changing siting trends in the sanitaryware market, zoning in the bathroom furniture market; rising sophistication of  bathroom lighting, shifting DIY market, and mix and match trends in brassware.

Somewhat surprisingly, MTW found the  ‘Brexit effect’ may be starting to have a modest, positive impact for UK based bathroom manufacturers.

It reported bathroom retailers are becoming increasingly concerned about Brexit’s threat to bathroom imports, with some evidence of a shift to UK produced goods by higher value independent retailers.

This trend is modest at present, according to MTW, but is offering opportunities for UK bathroom manufacturers to use their ‘Made in Britain’ credentials.

As well as identifying products outperforming the bathroom market, including bathroom lighting and higher value bathroom furniture market, the report also reviewed bathroom distribution channel shares.

The research found share growth is slowing for online bathroom retailers in 2019.

It reported bathroom industry profitability had slipped from 5% in 2017 to 3% in 2019 and stated average prices may have now troughed, with some online retailers having re-positioned to enhance margins.

The MTW Research report evidenced wider shifting trends in internet retailing, with Amazon recently opening its first physical retail store and questioned if this would be a trend in bathroom retail.