Increasing demand for turnkey bathroom solutions and 4G multigenerational living will underpin growth for bathroom retailers over the next few years, a new report has suggested.
A new MTW Research survey of the UK bathroom market predicted that £675 million could be spent on bathrooms over the next four years and retailers who correctly identify and adapt to market trends will be the big beneficiaries.
This includes offering tech-heavy bathrooms and bathroom products popular with millennials, as well as high-margin sanitaryware, such as rimless WCs.
The report is based on primary and secondary data of 80 key players in the UK bathroom retail market.
MTW Research director Mark Waddy said: “The ‘traditional’ bathroom retailer excels at combining design, supply, install and post-sales support as a turnkey package. Other channels such as the sheds and internet-only retailers appear to be unable to compete with this level of excellence and are positioning themselves very differently as a result.
“Increasingly innovative bathroom products demanding closer integration between retailer and installer are also boosting opportunities for the bathroom retail market.”
He added: “More technically complex products demanding enhanced design, supply and installation solutions are enabling retailers to trump many online and DIY retailers in 2018.”
The report found that sales had increased by £235m over the past six years, with almost half the retailers surveyed reporting growth so far this year.
The withdrawal of B&Q’s Homefit installation service earlier this year is also good news for specialist bathroom retail, according to Waddy.
Optimism in the report was tempered with a cautionary note over the shifting business and economic landscape, with uncertainty from Brexit clouding the future as well as changes in DIY and online channels.
The report showed “erratic performance” for bathroom retailers in recent years, with those in and around the booming cities of the north-west of the country particularly benefiting from favourable demographic trends.
Bathroom retailers in this area have reported £120m in sales so far this year, with revenue over the past two years up 17% – outpacing the overall UK bathroom retail market.
“We’ve seen the north-west property market continue to support declines elsewhere more recently and this has continued to boost opportunities for bathroom retailers, along with rising income, population and economic growth trends,” Waddy said.
The report discusses the increasingly dynamic bathroom market, such as changes in the DIY multiples and online retail channels, growth in drop-shipping and likely Brexit scenarios among others, all pointing to a shifting market that needs to be carefully considered by bathroom retailers and manufacturers to maintain current growth.