Paul Bailey is the Senior Category Manager at GROHE UK.
The influence of digitalisation and an eco-aware nation on 2020 bathroom design
Posted 14th January
As the beginning of another calendar year gets underway, it's commonplace to look to the future and consider how the KBB sector will evolve.
This new year is particularly significant, as we enter an entirely new decade and anticipate how growing nationwide concerns - climate change, conserving precious resources like water, and an ever-changing property landscape - will impact the homes we live in.
Here, I offer my thoughts on key societal trends that may shape bathroom design in 2020 and beyond.
Technology and digitalisation
Smart products and appliances for the bathroom that are designed to simplify consumers’ busy lives will continue to grow in 2020. Products such as shower toilets are beginning to be more understood by the mass market and consumers are starting to understand the value of the benefits they can offer. Not only will this category grow amongst families looking for a toilet that will take personal hygiene to the next level but for those homes with disabled users or those with reduced mobility too. Here, smart features such as automatic opening and closing of the lid, personalised wash and drying functions and automatic flush really lend themselves to developing the market for inclusive design.
The modern-day homeowner
Today’s homeowners, in particular the up-and-coming generation of millennial property owners, lead increasingly busy lives, work longer hours and often feel societal pressure around aspects such as the presentation of their homes and their environmental impact. We can therefore expect the modern day homeowner to opt for products that will cater for and meet these new demands; think features that are efficient, easy-clean and eco-friendly.
Space-saving solutions continue to be a priority for many consumers especially those living in cities where space is deemed a luxury. More and more innovations in this sector are coming to market such as concealed showers and wall-hung toilets. In a market that is traditionally dominated by floor standing, close-coupled toilets, 2020 could be the year we start to see concealed solutions really start to break through in the UK.
An increasingly eco-aware nation
As a nation, we are becoming increasingly more aware of the impact we are having on the planet. Ignited by the introduction of smart water meters, homeowners are more aware of their water consumption than ever, which is in turn leading to more informed purchasing behaviour. Shower toilets that eliminate the use of toilet paper, infrared taps that only dispense water when the sensor is activated and air-infused water spray technology in showers and shower toilets are all examples of eco-friendly bathroom features that are set to pave the way forward in 2020.
The changing property landscape
The need for additional bathrooms instead of just one larger space is increasing in demand as the property landscape continues to evolve. Alternative housing arrangements have risen significantly and therefore the definition of conventional modern homes and those who live in them has changed. Multi-generational homes have been growing in popularity for some time as have homes being shared by young professionals and groups of friends. Particularly the rise of mixed generations living together has seen the need for multiple bathrooms in the home, by way of annexes and outbuildings or en-suites. The growth of extensions and renovations that create space for en-suites has also been driven by changing consumer behaviour and the bathroom now being considered as a wellness-inspired personal sanctuary within the home.
The rise of open plan living and the merging of individual living spaces
No doubt accelerated by the trend for open plan living, the boundaries between individual living spaces in the home are now merging and integrating in an unprecedented way. Alternative housing has also risen significantly and therefore the definition of conventional modern homes and those who live in them has changed. Therefore, the product landscape for individual rooms is also changing and evolving. Those features and technologies seen in the kitchen are now being integrated into their bathroom counterparts, and vice versa. Features such as swivel spouts and pull-out hoses which are typical of kitchen taps are now being introduced into bathroom taps too. These additional elements are designed to provide greater flexibility and convenience within the bathroom space, helping to create an environment that can be tailored to each individual’s needs and preferences.