The latest Bathroom market report from AMA Research highlights the impact of Covid-19 on the industry and how the future of these companies will be driven not just by the transferrable utilities of their products and services but by how they are perceived, by the public and ultimately consumers, in their response to the Covid-19 outbreak.
One of the benefits, seen throughout the bathroom market, is the diversity of its distribution channels and ultimately its accessibility to maximise both domestic and commercial opportunities and focus on the more beneficial route as demand requires. The relationships built through this diversification within the supply and build chain and the core products well suited to health care settings have meant that companies are able to secure contracts directly with key developers supporting in areas such as with the NHS and the increasing pressures to cope with Covid-19 patients; responding to needs for equipment where the UK has seen serious shortages such as ventilation equipment and PPE equipment including visors as well as special pipe for emergency medical use, for high profile projects such as the Royal Marsden Hospital and the Nightingale hospitals as well as plumbing and drainage for products required for urgent repair and maintenance including RAF and Royal Navy facilities. Some companies are even donating their own stock of PPE where surplus is available as well as finding other ways to support the community through local charity donations.
In May 2020, major suppliers called for assistance from the government to get key sectors back to work, including construction and manufacturing. The government responded to this need, encouraging those businesses within construction and manufacturing, among others, to return to work as of the 13th May, as long as safe social distancing could be ensured. This return to operations will naturally bring an increased demand for products and systems which, in turn, will see businesses requiring more of their staff to return to their roles with new, and appropriate, health and safety measures in place.
While social distancing is still a dominant safety measure, the reduced capacity will result in reduced activity and productivity rates that are likely not to be back to pre-Covid levels for some time, with some industry sources citing it will be at least a year, going into late 2021, before we see a return to ‘normality’, if there is one at all. The way the industry will look in the future will be shaped by how we respond today. Key focus points will continue to be sustainability and now health as there is nothing more vital than creating a safe home and work environment.
Michelle Turner, Editor at AMA Research praises the sense of comradery and team spirit that has resonated throughout the bathroom industry, she said “as a result of Covid-19 allies and competitors alike have been working together to protect their businesses, their industry and their economy overall, showing the resilience and importance of some of the products within the UK bathroom market today. Companies can feel proud that they are truly adaptable in the face of adversity; it can be seen very clearly within this market and this is what will help protect the market and its companies going forward.”
Looking forward, it is anticipated that the value of the UK bathroom market will recover, albeit at a slow to moderate pace in the short term. The market value will not only be influenced by the rippled effects of Covid-19, but also by rising cost of imports, given the current and further expected weakness of Sterling as a result of Brexit proceedings from the start of 2021; stronger market performance is expected towards the end of 2024.