Editor of Kitchens & Bathrooms News Philippa Turrell says the lessons we have learned from lockdown will be invaluable to capitalise on future growth
When kitchen and bathroom showrooms began to open their doors, to trade in the “new normal”, there was undoubtedly trepidation.
Showroom environments had to be adapted, ways of working in store and on site had to be altered and footfall was uncertain.
However, despite this backdrop, independent retailers have reported business is good since re-opening and this even includes new enquiries.
It seems suggestions that consumers forced to spend more time at home would realise the value in investing in a new kitchen or bathroom project were far from rhetoric.
And it fully supports the notion consumers coming out of lockdown are more affluent, having been unable to spend freely on outdoor activities and saving on commuting costs too.
In fact, a recent survey of 2,000 consumers by Unhooked Communications reported two-fifths (42%) said they are investing more in their home in 2020 as they have spent less money day-to-day during lockdown.
It further found more than a third (36%) were ditching travel plans for holiday and instead planning to invest in their home.
Of these home improvements, one in 10 consumers wanted a new kitchen, while 14% wanted a new bathroom.
It seems pent-up demand for kitchens and bathrooms may be realised throughout the second half of 2020 and onwards.
Bathroom and kitchen retailers who turned up the volume of their marketing through digital channels to reach consumers, while showrooms were shut, are now placed to reap rewards.
However, accomplished retailers will continue to use the learnings from this lockdown period embracing their website and social media channels, along with their showroom presence, to promote their business to the local community.
Of course, the local lockdown in Leicester serves as a stark reminder COVID-19 is still very much present and remains an external and unknown variable affecting businesses.
The pandemic is far from over and will continue to influence not only the way companies operate but also their future finances.
However, holding the status of “essential retail”, kitchen and bathroom showrooms can be more assured than many high street businesses that they can continue to trade.
The future may be in a state of flux and independent kitchen and bathroom businesses may need to be flexible.
However, independent studios are renowned for their agility and ability to swiftly adapt to changing market conditions.
Far from a precarious future, then, using the lessons from lockdown, may see a positive outlook and period of growth for bathroom and kitchen retail.