Mike Tattam, Sales & Marketing Director of Lakes, is BMBI’s Expert for Shower Enclosures & Showering.
Home improvement retailers struggled with the weather and a less confident retail market this year. But, RMI continues to perform. This BMBI report shows that kitchen and bathroom Q2 sales were 6.1% up in value on the same quarter last year, and the past 12 months were 6.1% up compared to the previous twelve, making it the second best performing BMBI category.
It’s been a relatively flat start to the year for shower enclosures though, with signs of improvement from this quarter. Merchant and stockist showrooms reported less foot traffic in June and July, coinciding with the World Cup and extremely warm weather.
Compared to other ‘bathroom’ products, people spend less time thinking about shower enclosures: they look through the glass at the shower head, fittings, or tiles before they see the enclosure. That’s because enclosure brands have left it to others to promote showering spaces, and not explained why or how the showering space is important. However, emerging trends are shaping the market, providing opportunities for strong growth.
Eight out of ten people now prefer to shower than take a bath. New build homes are shrinking, so housebuilders favour stand-up showers instead of baths, and lifestyles are changing with an increase in multigenerational households having an impact too. The bathroom is increasingly becoming a personal sanctuary and it’s an important space with enclosures at the heart of good showering.
The most significant trend is the development of ‘The Haves’, driven by the rising value of homes, housing wealth and demographics. This group of generally older homeowners, especially the over 55s, own much of Britain’s housing wealth. They account for most of the UK’s savings, and they’re becoming more numerous. They have the money, and with rising house prices paying for the purchase, why wouldn’t they invest in their home? This powerful trend is driving most home improvement markets, not just bathrooms and showers. Watch this trend grow in importance.