Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

'Bricks & Clicks' providing bathroom DIY boost

Published: 2 December 2019 - John King

A new report on Bathroom Retailers Market Trends for 2020 from MTW Research has found that ‘bricks and clicks’ strategies are offering new opportunities for the bathroom market, with sales rising by 14% in the next four years.

Based on more than £600 million of bathroom suppliers’ data, the research found that offering convenience and choice online, coupled with personalised showroom led services such as co-ordination of bathroom design, supply and installation is set to boost bathroom retailers sales by £150 million from 2020 onwards.

The 200 page report provides in-depth analysis of bathroom product sales and finds that whilst the ‘Brexit effect’ has cost bathroom retailers £130 million in lost sales, the bathroom market has strong underlying fundamentals for growth in 2020. For example, MTW point to housing stock rising by one million in the last five years underpinning bathroom refurbishment in the next few years, with 241,000 new homes built in 2019 generating demand for bathroom products.

Bathroom trends for 2020 are discussed in the report, with MTW highlighting that consumers are less willing to specify particularly bold colours due to lower levels of consumer confidence at present. This is set to grow the trend of ‘discreet personalisation’ in 2020 with consumers adding personal touches whilst not straying too far from mainstream design aesthetics, with pastel shades particularly on trend at present.


Sales of baths and sanitaryware through retailers are set to grow by 17% from 2020 to 2023 according to MTW, with the report identifying more than 40 key trends in this sector alone underpinning growth opportunities. Growth in the trend toward more unusual siting of standalone baths, sanitaryware and bathroom furniture, for example, is highlighted as offering sales opportunities for bathroom retailers and manufacturers, in spite of challenges facing the market at present.

Whilst the new report identifies many growth opportunities in the bathroom market, MTW also highlight a number of challenges for those bathroom retailers and manufacturers unable to identify and exploit current bathroom market trends. The research found that just 21% of retailers active in the independent bathroom market reported growth above 10% during 2019, compared to 31% in 2018. In total, some 39% of bathroom retailers reported growth in 2019 according to MTW, reflecting a complex trading environment at present with a growing polarisation of ‘winners’ and ‘losers’.

The research indicates that the share loss, experienced by bathroom retailers to online and other channels in recent years, is now slowing. The independent bathroom sector is responding well to the dynamic challenges it faces moving into 2020, according to MTW. Retailers are competing more effectively on price, convenience and product range whilst also fulfilling consumers’ dreams in terms of bathroom design, product co-ordination and ultimately providing a high quality end result.


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