While consumers may be scaling down when it comes to trophy spaces and for-show-only products, they are more than willing to invest in their personal health and well being. The "spa bath" promotes wellness - both of body and mind - and in these stressful times, that makes water therapy products a worthwhile investment.
Indeed, jetted tubs, spas, saunas and steambaths continue to pique the interest of homeowners who crave the benefits offered by the various water and heat therapies these products provide.
Technology, too, is making inroads in this category, from personalized jet placement and inline heating systems to fragrance dispensing systems, chromatherapy and built-in sound systems.
Below are some of the hottest trends in whirlpools, spas, saunas and steambaths.
--Both aging Baby Boomers and health-conscious younger consumers are driving interest in products that promote health and wellness, making jetted tubs, saunas and steam baths a strong potential growth area for bath designers.
--While today's consumers are spending more cautiously, they are willing to invest in products that they see offering health and wellness benefits. As a result, multi-featured jetted tubs seem to be gaining ground, with consumers showing interest in bells and whistles ranging from pillows and extra jets for feet and backs to chromatherapy, inline heaters and baths with seating for two.
--Technology in heat therapy products continues to advance, with the latest offerings including sleek touch controls, waterproof iPod/iPhone docking stations, heating systems that keep the water hot for as long as the user is immersed and devices that make it faster and easier to fill and drain the tub.
--Air jets and combination air-and-water jetted tubs seem to be gaining ground over the traditional whirlpool, with the combination tubs able to offer two different types of water therapy.
--Infrared saunas, which once were sold only in limited sizes, are now available with more options for customization, with the hottest enhancements including more dramatic lighting, upgraded benches with a softer feel and sleek digital controls.
--While still a niche area, walk-in tubs are becoming more visible - and more aesthetically appealing in their designs - and this will likely continue to advance as increasing numbers of older homeowners seek products that will promote aging-in-place.