Tom Reynolds, Chief Executive of the Bathroom Manufacturers Association, takes stock of the challenges faced by the KBB industry in past couple of years, and those yet to come.

Bathroom manufacturers have achieved record-breaking sales in 2021, reflecting both the strength of the current market and the resilience of manufacturers.

With high global demand and testing materials and labour issues, the management of demand and supply has never been more critical.

BMA’s end of year consolidated data shows, bathroom manufacturers have reached nearly £1.2 billion sales, well up on both 2020 and 2019.

As I look back on the last year, it is remarkable how much the sector has persevered and accomplished, not only in terms of sales performance, but also in facing the immense supply chain problems, materials and labour inflation, and limited availability of installers.

Our growth could have been even greater without these brakes on our collective performance. As one manufacturer told me “We’re busy, but it’s no fun!”

By any measure, we are all living through extraordinary times, and when the pandemic first forced the shutdown of the economy, the uncertainty impacted every part of the economy, and made sales targets seem irrelevant.

But unprecedented interest in home improvements, including bathroom refurbishment, has generated impressive sales results, and created a solid foundation for what lies ahead.

I am proud of the role the BMA plays in the bathroom community, bringing people together, and to enable companies to develop and expand their market. That sense of collaboration will be even more critical as 2022’s challenges unfold.

Every business sector connected to the built environment is under increasing pressure to manage and improve their environmental credentials.

Specifically in the world of bathrooms, we know there will be greater demand on water supplies as our population increases and climate changes.

Our members have set a clear strategic direction, with a steadfast commitment to improve the sustainability of both their business operations, and of the UK’s bathrooms.

We will see transformation in our homes in the coming decades, as we provide solutions that deliver a great experience for customers, while helping to reduce water consumption, and, in turn, decrease carbon emissions related to the abstracting, pumping, treating and heating of water.  

Merchants, retails, installers and the entire KBB community must step-up to drive this change in our marketplace.  

Manufacturers’ recent efforts were powerfully demonstrated last year, at BMA’s first Sustainability Awards, held in London in November. The winning and specially commended entries each demonstrated how they innovating to create the bathrooms and businesses of the future.

Adapting to respond to consumers’ emerging environmental consciousness will be how bathroom manufacturers continue to smash sales records year on year into the future.

As pandemic-related supply and demand issues abate I believe that breaking 2021’s records will be more socially and financially rewarding, and maybe more fun.