Whereas once the story for brassware was simple – contemporary and chrome – now it is much more complex.
Personalisation of the bathroom space is key, as consumers seek to make their bathroom, including their showering space, individual to their needs and interior design aspirations.
And consumers are prepared to pay more for the showering space to meet their exact demands, as senior category manager of Grohe UK Paul Bailey adds: “We have seen a growing rise in consumers spending more on their shower system when upgrading or allocating a bigger portion of their budget on their shower when renovating.
“Consumers are seeking better performance and more hi-tech features from their shower and therefore are willing to pay more.” So what should bathroom designers be showing to their clients, to maximise profit on their shower sales?
Without doubt, the showering space continues to be driven by the trend for wellness and self-care, with boutique hotels and spas driving a more open-plan bathroom space.
The shower has become the design focus of the walk-in showering spaces, with large expanses of glass proving little detailing and therefore placing greater emphasis on the shower itself.
So, in terms of the shower, bigger continues to be better, as Paul Bailey of Grohe says: “Drench head-style showers are still a popular choice due to the volume and force of water they provide.
“A square design head shower is becoming more popular and can add an on-trend look to the room.
“Lozenge-shaped shower heads are another great option and are designed with the human body in mind.”
Vado recently introduced its Geometry showers in both round and square head varieties.
However, personalisation is also key in the spray options, which is reflected in multi-mode shower heads and even dual head options.
However, it should be pointed out, at the same time, manufacturers have worked hard to address creating a showering experience, without wasting water, such as the PowderRain spray from Hansgrohe which creates micro droplets for a drenching sensation and features in its Raindance models.
Head of channel marketing for Hansgrohe Sarah Evans comments: “Customers are more in tune with the emotional side of their bathroom, so we’re seeing increased demand for innovative spray patterns, extra-large shower heads and intuitive water controls that deliver a superior experience.
” It all comes down to making your living environment both beautiful and comfortable.”
Barrie Cutchie of BC Designs and Bayswater agrees a choice of showering patterns are key to sales as he says: “We’ve seen an increase in rigid riser kits as people find the practical element of having two shower heads a great addition.”
And Paul Bailey of Grohe continues: “Shower heads offering multiple sprays and a design finish that will match or complement the rest of the brassware in the bathroom, are also highly desirable.”
But, it should be pointed out, at the same time manufacturers have worked on the delivery of water
In terms of the look of the brassware aesthetics, although still very much in vogue, contemporary has now been joined by resurgence in classical design.
It is reflected in the choice of shower valves, with both exposed and concealed valves popular in sales.
Paul Bailey of Grohe UK comments: “The trend for minimalism has sparked changes across all interior spaces in the bathroom; this has led to concealed showering valves becoming increasingly sought after.
“This offers both the practical benefits of additional space in the shower enclosure itself, whilst aesthetically; the minimalist look adds a luxurious quality to a space.”
In fact, PJH has recently added the Sphere concealed thermostat to its Bathrooms to Love collection.
However, this is balanced by Barrie Cutchie of BC Designs who says exposed valve sales are taking off: “Traditional shower brassware will be huge over the next couple of years.
” It adds flashes of metallic that are so on-trend right now, while also adding style and class in equal measure.”
And he adds: “Consumers are willing to take risks and be more adventurous which is coming across in the finishing touches such as valves.”
And the finishing touches for valve, in terms of colours and textures, is offering consumers even more choice, from brushed through to polished and Nickel, through to Copper, Gold and Black.
Design director at Bayswater and BC Designs Barrie Cutchie comments: “Expect to see modern touches such as brass, copper and even black finishes to tie in the hottest colours, as homeowners embrace more colourful and interesting options.”
In fact, head of marketing at Methven Simon Cornelius believe black and especially matt black will be key for showers: “A shower head in a matt black finish will create a bold look in any bathroom. The look is particularly striking when the shower head has a statement design.”
And senior category manager of Grohe UK Paul Bailey agrees: “Chrome still remains popular but consumers want additional colours and finishes that will allows them to put their own stamp of individuality on a space in a cost-effective way.
“Brass and copper finishes, like Grohe’s Warm Sunset and Cool Sunrise finishes, have certainly led the way however Nickel and Graphite are also up-and-coming colours that cater for the darker end of the colour spectrum.
“It is not only colour but finish too that is becoming important. For consumers trying to create a bolder, more industrial-inspired look, there are brushed and matt finishes available too which can help to add texture and depth to a space.”
Optimising over bath
While large scale showering environments, created through adding additional showering facilities or even removing the bath, can easily create a fashion-led style statement, the majority of installations are still over the bath.
So can bathroom designers create a similar, personalised shower environment for consumers who may be more restricted for space?
Paul Bailey believes so: “There are innovations being developed in the shower market that open us new doors to those who have an over-the-bath set, allowing them to achieve like-for-like performance to those with a wetroom or walk-in shower enclosures.”
He continues to explain: “Last year, Grohe launched its Euphoria SmartControl, the latest model of its innovative SmartControl range, which is designed for retrofit installs and can offer showerhead, hand shower and bath outlets all from its one control panel.”
Bailey further adds: “There is more flexibility being offered within the over-the-bath market now, which means the constraints of shower specification are becoming more and more reduced.”
So instead of having to sharpen a pencil to take orders, accomplished designers will have a sharp selection of showers.
And these will provide all the check points for consumers – classical and contemporary, in an array of colours, for walk-in enclosures and overbath installations.
Then, bathroom designers can create the truly personalised showering environments that clients wish for, while maximising on the profit of the sale.”
Read about all the trends for bathrooms in 2019.