Interest in hot water taps may be heating up but they are still a long way from saturation, offering excellent opportunities for sales
With instant hot water taps starring on TV chef programmes and advertisements wedged between the pages of home inspiration magazines, it no surprise they are fast becoming a must-have for the home.
So much so, managing director of Abode Darren Holliday reports its Pronteau hot water taps have seen a sales growth of 243% on the previous year.
What may be more surprising is that this is only the tip of the iceberg for hot water tap sales, as brand manager for Carron Phoenix Larah Kuziw points out: “The market is still a long way from being saturated as penetration is as low as around 25%, so there’s lots to go at.”
Aided and abetted by an array of brands, hot water taps have become more accessible to a broader church of people.
And the once conservatively designed hot tap has now been created in a wide choice of finishes, from gold through to matt black, in a variety of styles from modern to classical.
Communications manager at Franke Jeanette Ward explains: “The use of different materials, colours and finishes is still a strong theme in kitchens, which is why one of the big trends in hot water tap design is the introduction of coloured finishes like black, copper, gold, bronze and gunmetal in addition to premium solid stainless steel.”
While sales director at Perrin & Rowe David Cole adds: “Style-wise, the focus has been on the increased demand for traditional and country-style hot taps, and a subsequent focus on developing these models.”
These have all increased the opportunity for hot water tap sales to consumers, as marketing communications manager for Europe and Russia Anne Kaariela puts it: “The market for hot water taps is growing because of the increasing affordability and availability of the product. With more possibilities that ever before, such as a variety of shapes, colours and finishes, the consumer is spoilt for choice.”
Retail sales stronghold
It’s great news for the high street kitchen retailer which is a stronghold for hot water tap sales.
Communications manager at Franke Jeanette Ward explains: “The most important channel for us is our heartland of kitchen studios because we believe they are best placed to offer expert advice and guide the consumer through the purchase of this premium product.”
And to counter any threat of online sales, high street retailers have the added advantage they can show and tell, as sales director of Perrin & Rowe David Cole explains: “We find working showroom displays really help high-end users to understand how the hot tank works, how easy it is to set up and use, as well as highlight the user friendly features.”
He continues: “highlighting the different features and benefits of hot taps are key – such as the anti-scald lock, flexible temperature control and the spit free flow.”
By engaging the customer in this kind of interactive conversation, it may also rid them of any concerns.
Tony Wilson, head of kitchen channel at Grohe UK, explains: “The biggest barriers are typically around safety, and this goes hand-in-hand with where the most technological advancements are coming from in the market.”
And David Cole of Perrin & Rowe agrees: “Although more customers are switching the kettle for a hot water tap, safety and ease of use are two common concerns among new users. The more user-friendly features manufacturers create and communicate to the retailers, the most confidence customers will have in making the switch.”
Servicing the customers
High street retailers can also provide the best service, advising their customers on best use of a hot water tap, as Tony Wilson of Grohe says: “Think outside the box and offer additional insight that your customers may not have thought of. Providing recipes that efficiently and deliciously utilise hot water is a tangible way that can help consumers.”
And sales advice shouldn’t have to stop there, as they may offer practice maintenance tips, to ensure they are happy with their purchase for years to come.
“Hot water boiling taps require a little maintenance from time to time, just as you would with other appliances in the home to keep them running at peak performance.
“We are all used to adding salt and rinse aid to the dishwasher and with a hot tap you need to change the cartridge, wash the plastic casing and descale the tap sieve.
“I think it’s something that retailers could highlight to customer more, so they understand, for example, the importance of changing the cartridge to prevent limescale build up in the boiler, while also improving water taste”, says Jeanette Ward.
3-in-1 still lead
But what is the hot water tap all retailers should have in their arsenal to attract the attention and wallet of consumers?
Well, despite the hot water tap sector offering 4-in-1 models with filtered sparkling and filtered steaming water, and 5-in-1 taps with additional sparkling water, the 3-in-1 tap remains the most popular.
Regional and product development director at IDS Ian Holmes explains why: “I think that the 3-in-1 hot tap is the most popular option still in the market because of its combination of price and functionality for a more mainstream consumer which is where the volume is.
“Sales of our Bollente 3-in-1 taps have gone up 15-20% over the last couple of years.”
The popularity of 3-in1 hot water taps is mirrored in the sales of InSinkErator, as Anne Kaariela comments: “InSinkErator has been marketing steaming hot water taps since 2007; however, the launch of the 3N1 has been exemplary with the company achieving double digit growth year-on-year.”
And sales and marketing director of Reginox UK Dave Mayer says sales of its 3 in 1 hot taps have more than doubled during the past two years, adding: “Our latest addition, Amanzi, is our best-selling model.”
But industry experts also point to the growth of the 4-in1 hot ta market in years to come, as the market becomes well populated with 3-in-1 models.
“We are forecasting stronger growth in 4-in1 models that also include filtration”, says Jeanette Ward of Franke, adding: “I think we will see more taps in the 4-in-1 segment featuring digital controls with push button, hands-free operation to dispense the boiling water.
“It’s a natural progression of the technology and gives consumers an extra functional benefit of being easier to operate over the standard ‘twist and turn’ method. Our Minerva electronic models are strong performers for us.”
Growing consumer base
Industry experts agree the market for instant hot water taps is only going to go from strength to strength.
Not only are consumers waking up to the functionality, especially useful when home entertaining, but also their benefits of offering a clutter-free worktop enhancing a coveted ‘showhouse’ kitchen aesthetic.
And once consumers have tried a hot water tap, they are unwilling to give them up, which means there is a burgeoning market for experienced, as well as newcomers to the market at all price levels.
Dave Mayer of Reginox adds: “Any consumer who has a hot tap will tell you they could not manage without one now, and that applies as much to the mid-market as it does to the high end.”
So take away these [boiling] points to make a success of instant hot water tap sales.
Read about all the kitchen trends for 2019.