Terrill says that some of the smaller baths actually use less water than a shower. However, he adds: “It is the consumer’s decision to choose a large bath [if that’s what they desire], and we suggest using other water saving products [to balance that].”
With the growing interest in and demand for conservation comes a need for innovative choices, says Petch. “Increasingly, a judgment decision is being made between saving and performance or efficiency. Consumers are demanding a choice of solutions so that they can make that informed decision.”
Kulig states: “The consumer now takes advantage of the available bathing technologies, but is also still conscious of the green initiative,” he says. “To be successful today, the industry has to meet both needs: It must offer functions or sophisticated techniques and at the same time it must be capable of developing systems with high attention to low consumption without sacrificing user/creature comforts.”
Mullally also notes than any manufacturer that is going to evolve and grow with the current climate needs to be one or two steps ahead of what is going to become code or law. Most manufacturers, he says, are part of the EPA’s WaterSense program, and becoming involved in organizations that address green issues. Education around the codes and requirements is becoming more important across the board, he says, especially as counties and cities make their own requirements.
MULTIPLE SPRAY SELECTIONS
As the home spa market grows, luxury showers often incorporate more than a single spray. More and more, manufacturers say, showers are being designed with multiple sprays, rain bars and/or hand showers.
Larson says that many people want a fixed wall-mounted showerhead, along with a hand-held version with a slide bar, and sometimes a ceiling mount. In master showers, he says, there are often additional features, such as wall-mounted body sprays.
Petch agrees that body sprays have seen a surge in popularity in recent years, a trend he attributes in part to the aging population and growing interest in wellness and healthy living. “Body sprays give you the ability to target specific areas of pain or discomfort such as joints, lower back or neck, not only delivering stress reduction but also addressing the pains of aging such as arthritis or old sports injuries,” he says.
DeGenova says that rain spray showers continue to be popular as they tie into the desire for a spa-like experience. However, he adds, a rain spray is a soft spray, and there are still many consumers looking for a hard spray as well.
Mullally also sees continued demand for multiple sprays, and has seen growth in demand for rain bars, particularly over the last eight months. The flexibility of rain bars makes them appealing, he says, and people are switching out several body sprays for one rain bar. Additionally, hand showers and slide bars are growing in popularity, in part due to the flexibility of these products.
Ed Detgen, v.p./marketing at Danze has also seen this trend. “Hand showers and shower support products are very popular as the demand for products that augment the bathing experience continues to grow,” he says.
The trend toward multiple sprays could be threatened by pending DOE legislation due to go into effect in October that would limit the total output from all sources to 2.5 gallons a minute, rather than the current individual spray limit of 2.5 gpm. If this legislation moves forward, options for multiple showerheads could be drastically altered, say manufacturers.
Technology plays a role in most aspects of life these days, and the bathing market is no different. “We see a trend towards technological solutions,” says Kulig. “The shower must combine all required features to enable the consumer to have a true sensorial experience: colors, different water functions, lighting effects. These are all elements that can be integrated into a harmonized sensorial concept. Digital control and electronics address the customer’s demand for excellence and smart functionality.”