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Shower market builds head of steam for 2015
A new report on the UK shower market from MTW Research has uncovered inflation busting growth returning for some sectors for the first time since 2007, with sales set to strengthen in 2015.
Based on industry accounts data, the report forecasts that sales of showers will return to pre-recession levels by 2018, suggesting the weak trading environment of recent years has finally been consigned to the history books.
However, MTW found that whilst growth is strengthening in some sectors, some shower products continue to experience lacklustre sales as pricing pressure remains intense. Despite some high profile closures, Internet retailers have continued to gain share of the showers market, sustaining pressure on independent bathroom retailers and UK suppliers.
Nevertheless, the over-riding tone of the report is optimistic, identifying a number of changes in consumer and trade demand which should boost shower sales in the near to medium term. According to MTW, modest growth is being led by changing consumer preferences toward higher quality products, though affordability remains a key influencer on the final purchase decision.
The report identifies a slow but steady shift toward demand for a higher value proposition, with this market characteristic set to sustain growth opportunities for higher value sectors such as concealed mixing valves, low profile shower trays, semi-frameless enclosures and digital shower markets.
"The showers market in late 2014 can be characterised as a sector which is driven by consumers' aspirations for higher quality, design-led products at an affordable price," comments MTW's director, Mark Waddy.
The research reviewed the digital shower controls market in some depth and uncovered rapid growth rates in recent years, though in overall terms the actual value of the sector remains small in comparison to the overall shower market.
MTW suggests sales of digital showers are set to offer healthy differentiation and value growth opportunities in 2015 and beyond, in line with changing consumer preferences and declining prices rendering digital showers more accessible to the wider market. Manufacturers of higher value showers have also found increasing success in changing the trade's attitude toward digital controls, further boosting sales. Overall, MTW forecasts the digital showers market to grow by around 30% in the next four years, highlighting an increasingly rapid adoption of these products following a fairly slow initial take-up.
MTW's 240 page report discusses a wide range of influencing factors for sales of showers, with the balance of factors being positive, prompting rising optimism for the UK shower market in 2015 and beyond. MTW points to the 14 million consumers aged 60 or above who offer good growth opportunities, with this target market representing around 30% of all shower purchases in 2014.
The rising UK population is also providing an underlying stimulus, rising by over 400,000 in 2013.
The report also reviews the commercial shower market, finding that non-domestic shower sales have become increasingly reliant on the private sector in recent years as Government austerity measures have impacted demand for public sector showers, despite some stimulus from the health and education sectors. With commercial new build and refurbishment set to represent a key growth sector in 2015, MTW forecasts an increasingly strengthening commercial showers market in the medium term.
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12th December 2014