The UK market for bathroom products achieved value growth of around 3% in 2017. The pace of growth has lessened over the last 12 months compared to the previous 2-3 years, with modest growth expected in 2018 and 2019. The main factors influencing the market include lower levels of consumer and business confidence, in turn impacting on demand for bathroom products. Overall market growth between 2017 and 2021 is forecast at around 12%.

Baths and sanitaryware is the largest sector of the bathroom products market, followed by bathroom accessories, taps and mixers, bathroom furniture and whirlpool/spa systems. In terms of trends, demand for quality bathroom products with additional features is expected to remain significant, and will be supported by a greater level of replacement purchases as consumers upgrade to higher value solutions, with aesthetics continuing to exert a notable influence on consumer choice.

The growing consumer preference for minimalist, wall-hung and counter top designs will impact volume demand for sanitaryware. This trend will support the growth of prefabricated solutions, installation frames and concealed plastic cisterns. Taps and mixers will increasingly be used as a means of differentiation in domestic and certain commercial environments, with higher quality finishes and contemporary styling.

Popular products include space saving solutions such as wall-hung sanitaryware, slim-line wash basins and short-projection furniture. While in the baths sector, compact shower baths, small freestanding baths and space-saving ‘back-to-wall’ D shaped/skirted baths, continue to gain share.

In the bathroom furniture sector there is increasing demand for clever ‘invisible’ storage solutions that ensure that the bathroom remains tidy and clutter free. The market for bathroom accessories is likely to remain positive as consumers buy accessories as an easy and cost-effective way to update and personalise their bathroom.

Going forward, new housebuilding volumes are set to stabilise despite the economic uncertainty. Prospects remain positive in this sector and will support demand for bathroom products installed in new build homes, while RMI activity is expected to be more constrained in the next 2-3 years. Commercial private work will also remain a key driver of activity across a number of applications, including hotels and leisure.

The wide variation in UK bathroom size will continue to provide opportunities for product development to suit the various types of bathrooms such as ensuite, cloakroom installations etc. Modern, digital and advanced technology, such as digital taps and sensors to control temperature and flow, motion sensor LED mirrors and Bluetooth entertainment systems, will become more widely used in the bathroom as consumers and businesses become increasingly aware of their benefits. Consumers are demanding quality products that will last and use the internet to search for the best deals available.

There will also continue to be a significant demand for inclusive bathroom products that are both practical and easy to use, such as low-level or walk-in baths for easy access, wall-hung sanitaryware for easier manoeuvrability, thermostatic and lever operated tapware controls, and shower toilets. This will be boosted by the Disabled Facility Grant (DFG) provision to pay for improvements such as accessible showering facilities, which is set to double over the next 2-3 years to over £500 million in 2019/20.

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