Philippa Turrell says get over the typical British reserve of talking toilet habits, to boost sales of big-ticket, high profit shower WCs
It may be because of our British sensibilities or the fact that much of our humour is based around the toilet, but the UK has been fairly reticent to adopt the shower WC. They have been used for decades in the Far East and been embraced by mainland Europe. But although shower toilets have been used in UK commercial environments, it’s only very recently they’ve hit the high street retail radar. But that does mean there is plenty of potential for growth.
Suited to all
Having a history in the care market, the shower WC is often associated with older people and lack of mobility. But just like it’s non-tech predecessor, it is suited for all ages. However few would argue that the UK has an ageing population and this could prove to back the growth of the shower toilet market.
But whether sold to the Silver market, gadget lover, or eco-conscious consumer (after all it saves toilet paper), it is the functionality of the shower WC which will drive sales. Quite simply, the shower WC is the last word in luxurious bathrooms environments. For the premium-end (pardon the pun), think heated seats, integrated night light, air dryer, deodoriser and music on top of bidet function.
But that does not mean, this technology, which is only focused on delivering comfort, is only targeted at the super-wealthy. Think of luxury cars, providing differing specifications, across a series. There are a range of shower toilets on the market, at various price points. For those who still think the cost of a shower WC will still be prohibitive to bathroom sales, perhaps could consider offering an ‘enhanced’ bidet seat as an add-on sale instead.
Arguably, the technology which is responsible for driving the sales of the shower WC, could be said to have previously held back sales, as consumers may not have wanted the interruption of a gadget in their overall bathroom aesthetic. But now Shower WCs are now able to seamlessly blend into top-end spa bathrooms, enabling wider market penetration.
Getting over embarassment
So if the shower toilet is now more stylish, offers great comfort and is suited for all consumers, how can retailers and their customers get over the embarrassment of talking toileting? Bathroom experts suggest by showing the aesthetics and talking about the comfort a shower WC offers detracts from the pure practicalities of use.Certainly manufacturers are working hard on breaking traditional toilet taboos, in the bid to drive this new sector. And as they do, the market will begin to grow and perhaps even ultimately mature in sales.
This article appeared in full in the May 2014 issue of Kitchens & Bathrooms News.