Increasing demand for higher-value products and frustration over Brexit will underpin growth for bathroom retailers, new data has revealed.
A new MTW Research survey of the UK bathroom market has predicted that sales in the UK bathroom market will grow by £40 million in 2019. It identified rising “pent-up demand” in the market – driven by three years of Brexit uncertainty – and an increased desire for higher-value products, as key drivers of sales.
Discussing the survey’s findings, MTW director Mark Waddy pointed to “strong fundamentals for the bathroom market bubbling under the surface”.
He added: “Four hundred thousand first-time buyers in 2019, rising disposable incomes, consumers delaying bathroom refits for three years now, growth in experiential bathroom retailing and some great product innovation across the bathroom market are just some trends waiting to boost bathroom sales as soon as Brexit uncertainties are resolved.”
The report also highlighted key design trends that are supporting growth for bathroom manufacturers and retailers, including: urban, luxury, industrial and geometric styles; changing trends in the sanitaryware market; zoning in the bathroom furniture market; innovation in the lighting market and mix-and-match trends in brassware.
As well as identifying products outperforming the bathroom market, including lighting and higher-value furniture, the report also looked at market share through various channels. It found that share growth is slowing for online bathroom retailers in 2019.
It also predicted profitability in the bathroom sector to slip by just 3% in 2019 compared with 5% in 2017, suggesting that average prices may have now troughed, with some online retailers repositioning to enhance margins.
MTW also highlighted that Brexit may be having positive effects for UK manufacturers, with some evidence of a shift to UK-produced goods by higher-value independent retailers. It said the trend is modest at present, but presents an opportunity to British manufacturers to user their ‘Made in Britain’ credentials to add value and allay fears of supply chain disruption.