The new Shower Market Trends Report 2020 from MTW Research reveals that while the impact of COVID-19 on the shower market will exceed £22 million in lost sales, strong demand fundamentals will provide an £85 million sales boost by 2024.

The 280-page report forecasts that shower market sales will return to pre-COVID levels in 2022, reflecting the severe but relatively short term impact of COVID-19. MTW’s analysis suggests that H1 2021 growth will be underpinned by pent up demand from 30-50 age group consumers, while demand is set to be strengthened in H2 2021 from 50+ age group consumers, as the UK’s largest ever vaccination programme boosts demand growth across the shower market.

MTW’s Director Mark Waddy commented: “There are healthy demand trends in the shower market in late 2020, prompting growth forecasts of almost £30 million for 2021. Demand was shifting slightly toward a more value-led proposition until mid-2020, though this trend has now reversed with a release of pent up demand and healthy value growth underpinning forecasts of more than 20% by 2024.”

Based on £500 million of sales data, the report identifies trends and shares for shower controls, screens, trays, enclosures and accessories markets separately, with the longer term impact of COVID-19 perhaps not as severe as initially feared.

However, the impact of COVID-19 will reverberate across the shower market for some time. For example, MTW forecast the domestic and commercial shower controls markets to be worth almost £10 million less by 2024 than was forecast before the pandemic.

According to MTW, the shower mixing valve market will exceed pre-COVID sales by H2 2022 with trade sources forecasting healthy volume and value growth in the medium term. Concealed valves and digital shower trends continue to support value growth, whilst volume demand is set to return rapidly for bar-mixers and exposed shower valves. Shower tray trends are also positive for 2021 with sales set to exceed pre-COVID sales quickly. MTW forecast double digit growth over the next four years for the shower tray market, following a £5 million decline due to COVID-19.

Sales of shower enclosures continue to grow in size – both physically and from a market value perspective, with the report identifying a number of key underlying trends set to boost demand in 2021 and beyond. Shower enclosure sales are set to exceed £100 million in the near term according to MTW, boosted by value and volume demand growth.

Installer shortages and possible supply shortages due to COVID and Brexit may well increase prices in the near term according to MTW. However, these trends may also reduce price sensitivity in the mid-higher value shower market to some extent, with the impact of these issues not forecast to significantly constrain market growth. While the challenges facing shower suppliers were compounded by the second national lockdown in November 2020, the report found that demand for installations and internet distribution continued to rise in H2 2020 for most shower products.

The report analyses distribution channel shares in 2020, with internet retailers gaining most share due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, lower price sensitivity, rising volume demand and returning demand from older consumers in 2021 is prompting greater optimism from independent bathroom retailers. Despite ongoing challenges for the shower market, the opportunities and trends identified should provide a much welcome relief for the shower market in 2021 and beyond, MTW Research says.