In 2017, the value of the shower equipment market is estimated to have seen a moderate increase of around 2%. This follows a similarly modest increase of 3% in 2016. The level of penetration for showers has climbed significantly since the late 1990’s to reach around 90% in 2016, with at least one shower installation in the majority of UK households. Continued steady growth of around 2-4% per year is currently forecast to 2021.

Following two years of good growth due to increasing levels of new house building boosting demand and relatively buoyant consumer confidence supporting RMI activity, the shower equipment market was more subdued in 2016 and 2017, with 5% growth achieved over the two years. Uncertainty surrounding the Brexit process has impacted on business and consumer confidence, which in turn could impact negatively on new construction starts and RMI activity in the next 2-3 years in some end-use sectors.

Shower controls account for the greatest proportion of the shower equipment market with 46% share by value in 2016. Enclosures, screens and trays account for somewhat less than the shower controls sector, while the maturing shower market and higher level of shower usage, has led to some share growth in replacement products, such as shower accessories.

In recent years, product development and improvement in the shower equipment market has focused on quality and design with a trend towards higher value products and contemporary styles. Demand for digital showers have also shown good growth as the use of ‘smart’ technology in UK homes becomes more prevalent, with plumbing installers also increasingly familiar with digital showers and the installation benefits they can offer.

As the shower market matures there are greater levels of replacement purchases leading to product upgrade and added value opportunities. An increasing number of shower products are now designed specifically for retrofit purposes, such as electric showers with multiple cable/water entry points and mixer showers with standard pipe centres.

Demand for ‘inclusive’ showering solutions is growing, as increasing numbers of elderly and disabled people are now living at home, creating demand for accessible solutions that make the bathroom easier to use and more functional. For example, walk-in enclosures or wetroom areas, level access trays, thermostatic shower controls with easy-to-use controls, shower seats, grab rails etc.

With environmental issues increasingly in focus, water saving is also becoming an important consideration. With over one third of UK homes on a water meter, the demand for water efficient shower controls is increasing. The addition of the Water Label on shower packaging has also made consumer product comparison of the water use between similar products easier and more transparent.

Going forward the market is expected to increase by around 13% between 2018-2021. New housebuilding volumes are set to continue increasing despite the uncertainty currently surrounding the UK’s exit from the EU, and prospects remain positive in this sector, supporting demand for showers installed in new build homes. In the commercial sector demand for showering equipment is likely to emulate from private new build and RMI activity in the hotels sector, care homes and health & fitness clubs/gyms.

The shower equipment market will continue to fragment and the number of own-label products, often sold via the internet, is likely to increase. Online retailers are becoming significantly more important as consumers increasingly use the internet to source the best deals, but manufacturers are also selling spare parts and accessories direct to the consumer online.

Competition from non-UK suppliers is also set to grow, and pricing pressures are likely to remain intense due to the high level of imported product and the growing number of competitive distribution channels such as the internet, home improvement multiples and other major retailers.

This article is based on data from AMA Research’s ‘Shower Market Report – UK 2017-2021 Analysis‘ containing insight, statistics and forecasts on the UK’s shower market up until 2021.