A new report on the UK bathroom retail market finds that sales have increased by £235million in the past six years, with a new boost for ‘full service’ bathroom retailers likely from 2019 following the withdrawal of B&Q’s Homefit installation services.
The report from MTW Research is good news for bathroom retailers, suggesting that the DIY channel is set to “return to its roots as a DIY products retail channel”, and away from full service provision. Discussing the findings, director Mark Waddy said: “The ‘traditional’ bathroom retailer excels at combining design, supply, install and post-sales support as a ‘turn-key’ package. Other channels, such as the sheds and internet-only retailers appear to be unable to compete with this level of excellence and are positioning themselves very differently as a result.”
Increasingly innovative bathroom products demanding closer integration between retailer and installer are also boosting opportunities for the bathroom retail market, according to MTW. More technically complex products demanding enhanced design, supply and installation solutions are enabling retailers to trump many online and DIY retailers in 2018.
Consumers specifying luxury and enhanced features require enhanced design and installation support with bathroom retailers succeeding in meeting this demand as profitability has risen by 2.5% per annum on average.
The independent report some erratic performance for bathroom retailers in recent years, but illustrates strong underlying fundamentals and growth opportunities in 2018 and beyond for those able to identify and adapt to current market trends. For example, population trends have continued to boost bathroom retailer sales in the north of the country, with North West bathroom retailers exceeding £120million in sales in 2018.
Based on £530million of data from bathroom retailers, the report identifies a softening of consumer demand, which may result in a shift in product trends for the next two-to-three years. However, MTW points to the majority of retailers being well placed and having the ability and knowledge to adapt to these trends, with 45% of the market reporting growth in 2018.
Looking at bathroom products trends, the report finds that sanitaryware and baths, brassware, showers and lighting continue to outpace the overall bathroom retail market in 2018. Meanwhile, opportunities for growth include ‘4G’ multi-generational living boosting budgets and enhanced design, supply and installation services; rimless WCs boosting margins, ‘tech heavy’ bathrooms growing in popularity for the millennial generation; and the growth in the ‘showcase bathroom’ trend.
These and other trends are set to offer a further £675 million of sales for bathroom retailers to 2022.