Although showers are undeniably a must-have in today’s bathroom, the bath tub has not yet been consigned to the history books. And while there is a growing trend for large shower enclosures, created to replace the footprint of a standard-sized bath tub, seemingly it hasn’t wiped out shower bath sales.
In fact sales director of April Products, Richard Martin points out: “Shower bath sales over the past two or three years have continued to outpace the growth in sales of other baths. The recent trend has been for households to replace the bath with a shower enclosure; howeven there are many households who want the benefits of both bath and shower.”
And Nick Rowland, product manager for Heritage Bathrooms, agrees: “Bath replacement showers will grow as a percentage but there will always be a need for a bath or a shower bath.”
Suiting small bathrooms
But why does the British consumer continue their love affair with a shower bath? The answer is quite simple, it provides showering and bathing options in the space ofjust a bath. With the typical British bathroom being small, it allows consumers to have both bathing facilities in a restricted area.
Nick Rowland of Heritage Bathroom explains: “A shower bath provides an ideal solution when space is tight, enabling the homeowner to tit a shower into a standard-size bathroom around the basin, toilet and bath rather than trying to squeeze in a separate shower” Managing director of Reva Industries, Gary Stevens agrees and cites the shower bath is also popular as it meets the needs of all the family: “The success of the shower bath comes from it being a two-in-one option, partly due to limited space in most UK bathrooms and partly as families like to retain a bath for children and older people.”
P and L-shape models
So what should designers look for when they need to specify a shower bath for their bathroom projectss. In terms of styling, industry experts suggest that while the curvaceous P-shape is the most popular design, the geometric L-shape model is aspirational. Nick Rowland comments: “P-shaped baths lead the sales but L-shape lead in terms of desirability. just like enclosures, the style has moved away from soft curves to a more angular look.”
And Richard Martin of April Products, agrees adding: “[There will be] continued growth in L-shape products, possibly overtaking sales of P- shape baths over the next two to three years.” But it’s not simply a matter of styling, which will help designers specify the correct bath. Nick Rowland points out: “Designers need to think carefully about the available space, the flatness of the showering area and how water retention will be achieved.
Also, they need to consider how far the screen wraps around the showering area and how much the showering area intrudes into the rest of the bathroom.” While head of marketing at Bette, Sven Rensinghoff suggests that designers ask, which is the preferred method of cleansing, as this may also affect shower bath choice.
He says: “lt is really important to understand the client’s preferences for bathing or showering and to know which they are likely to do most frequently, as this can have a major impact on the choice of shower: lf, for example, the shower bath will be used mostly for showering, they could consider a lower height option for ease of access.”
He continues: “ [designers] should also take into account their client’s height and frame to ensure that they select the shower bath that is going to bring the most bathing and showering pIeasure.” Rensinghoff adds: “Lack of awareness of features and benefits means some consumers do not select the best product for their needs – and may even buy a bath that has not been specifically designed as a shower bath.”
By understanding the features of the design, and the benefits these may provide, designers may be able to encourage customers to trade up. Sven Rensinghoff from Bette continues: “Designers can encourage consumers to trade up in shower bath models by getting them to think about their bathing and showering experience. Will the standing area be large enough? Will the bath be comfortable, spacious and deep enough?”
He adds: “Designers should take time to explain features like steep sides at the showering end – to provide the maximum standing area – and a comfortable, sloping back rest at the lying end, for maximum bathing comfort. When consumers understand the differences between shower baths, they are more likely to trade up to a better quality option.” And now there are even more options to trade up, as manufacturers have introduced integrated showers into the design.
Nick Rowland says: “Another noticeable development is the combining of the shower and bath delivery system as the shower bath is the amalgamation of the shower and bath, this has evolved to integrate the water delivery system within the product.”
Ancillary sales add-up
The shower bath can now provide so much more than just a tub with the addition of a screen. So make sure you also maximise sales opportunities that shower bath sales provide. As Richard Martin of April Products points out: “You can sell many ancillary products such as more expensive bath panels, various designs of bath screen and many designs of showering brassware, as well as bath fillers.”
With the increasing demand for showering and reticence of consumers to go without a tub, it seems like the shower bath will remain a popular choice for the bathroom.