Category Archives: Consumer

Consumer Trends and their influence on the KBB market 2018


Rapid advancements in technology and connectivity mean that today’s consumers can get what they want, when they want, where they want it.  And as consumers continue to question their purchasing decisions in line with their values and priorities, their relationships with brands are evolving.

This report focuses on emerging consumer trends and how they will define what consumers will want to buy for their homes in the future.


This cross-category report will be published in August 2018

If you are one of our Insight Partners, this report will automatically be added to your account


Wellness and the Home

Over the last few years, Wellness has become a word many have heard all too much. It is something we see on social media, on the news, and in magazines, and is now a word hard to escape from.

With various industries across the spectrum capitalising on it, a look into what Wellness really is, and what it can do for us, is long overdue. Holiday companies are selling out of mindfulness and yoga retreats, health-food accounts on Instagram are monopolising the web, and spa treatments are more popular than ever.

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Why are experiences more valuable than possessions?

Seeking out experiences rather than purchasing more stuff has been a trend lurking in the corners of psychology for the last few years.

Research in 2014 by Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor from the University of Cornell, concluding that “experiences are the glue of our social lives”, mattering much more than the latest i-gadget.

Why do experiences matter?

  • Experiential purchases enhance social relations more readily and effectively than material goods
  • Experiential purchases form a bigger part of a person’s identity
  • Experiential purchases are evaluated more on their own terms and evoke fewer social comparisons than material purchases.

Studies also suggest that the anticipation of an experience is also crucial. Thomas Gilovich’s research showed that people reported being mostly frustrated before the planned purchase of a ‘thing’, but mostly happy before they bought an ‘experience’.

As that happy feeling is tied up with a memory, it lingers longer. Colin Strong, head of behavioural science at market research group Ispos, calls it the ‘hedonic adaption’, claiming that the hedonic payoff of experiences is much greater than material purchases.

The Experience Consumer

We are now seeing how this trend is affecting our spending habits and the way we consume, such as a 55% increase in ticket sales to events and live experiences, as research by the world’s largest event technology platform, Eventbrite, found.

And according to Barclaycard, which processes about half of all Britain’s credit and debit card transactions, their figures for April 17 show a 20% increase in spending in pubs compared with the same month last year. Spending in restaurants went up 16%, while theatres and cinemas enjoyed a 13% rise. Meanwhile, department stores suffered a 1% drop, vehicle sales were down 11% and spending on household appliances fell by 2.5%

Clothes retailer Next claim their first fall in profits in eight years is due to the experience economy, and Ikea’s head of sustainability, Steve Howard, is of the opinion that consumption of many goods has reached a limit, referring to this limit as hitting ‘peak stuff’

Building a Brand Experience

Fuelled by social media, the experience economy is a trend that will continue to grow. Instagram accounts used to be about our new car, handbag or pair of shoes, but now that seems slightly vulgar compared to our friend’s yoga holiday or sky-diving weekend.

Building a product brand that taps into the experience economy involves going beyond a ‘sell and forget’ mentality. When Meile launched their revolutionary steam oven, they also developed a set of cookery courses for their steam oven customers. After completing a hands-on steam oven cookery session, attendees proudly tweet, instagram and facebook the results to all their contacts, turning them into a very effective sales force for Meile, without even a mention of a Meile product.


Ikea launches furniture range for pets

Ikea pet furniture range

Have you ever felt like your cat or dog wasn’t just a pet, but a member of the family?  You are not alone.

IKEA felt there was a gap in the market for reasonably priced, but nice-looking pet products and developed a pet product range.  The new LURVIG collection, which means “hairy” in Swedish, was launched in five countries — Japan, France, Canada, U.S and Portugal at the start of October.

Ikea pet furniture range

Created by pet loving designer, Inma Burmudez,  with support from veterinarians,  according to Ikea “the range covers all the bases of our shared life with pets indoors and out, so you and your pet can enjoy your home together“.

Ikea furniture for cats

Ikea furniture for dogs

Source:  Ikea 

Bathroom Purchase Behaviour, Consumer Insight Report 2017

This bathroom industry report investigates the purchase of a new complete bathroom and the key influences on consumers as they progress through the purchase process, such as budget, family circumstances, brand awareness, research methods and advice sources.  The report reveals how consumers choose their suppliers, how they plan and design their new bathroom and how they find a bathroom fitter.

The report has had the benefit of a 1285-strong respondent base which was accessed via a collaboration with the online bathroom inspiration platform Foam & Bubbles.  The respondents, all UK consumer-homeowners, have all recently fitted a complete new bathroom, or are actively planning a complete new bathroom for installation in the near future, resulting in a highly-engaged survey audience.

“Direct access to people who are actively engaged in the purchase of a new bathroom has enabled Trend-Monitor to obtain high-level insights into the purchase process. The result is an invaluable resource for bathroom brands, bathroom retailers and industry professionals, providing a focus and structure for new product development and customer engagement programmes”.
Jane Blakeborough, Research Director, Trend-Monitor Ltd

“This report will allow bathroom brands and other interested parties to have a deeper and more insightful knowledge of the bathroom purchase and replacement processes, outlining motivations and demographic patterns, with the result that we will have a deeper understanding of the way consumers refurbish their bathrooms today – and in the future”.
Avinash Doshi, Founder and CEO, Foam & Bubbles


Key findings from the research include:-

  1. Brand awareness within the bathroom market remains low, clearly illustrated by the 90% of survey respondents who were unable to name any of the brands they had used or were planning to use in their new bathroom.  Brand awareness does however increase slightly as the bathroom budget increases to the point where more research is done online, and more purchases are made via local bathroom showrooms instead of DIY and retail chains.
  2. Research prior to purchase continues to move online over the past year with 45% more people researching via online bathroom inspiration websites, in particular for the higher-budget bathrooms.  46% more people are researching via e-commerce websites and these tend to be focused on the lower-budget bathrooms.
  3. The design services offered by bathroom retailers and installers have a relatively low uptake with a third of homeowners choosing to plan their new bathroom themselves and a further 29% of new bathrooms keeping the same layout as before.
    Interestingly 24% of those homeowners who plan their own bathroom choose to do so on paper, compared to only 10% who use an online design tool.
  4. Water saving features have recently increased in importance within the bathroom purchase process.  This is shown by people currently in the planning stage of their bathroom installation being twice as likely to consider water-saving features to be important when purchasing a bathroom product than those who have already installed their bathroom.
  5. The influence of the bathroom fitter on the modern-day bathroom is evident throughout the whole bathroom installation process, however consumers sourcing a bathroom fitter for their new bathroom are still doing it the traditional way – by personal recommendation.    Bathroom fitters are over twice as likely to be appointed based on a recommendation from a family member or friend than any other sourcing method.

Key Findings
About the Survey Respondents
UK Bathroom Market Overview
Section One: Motivating Factors
Section Two: Research Prior Purchase
Section Three: Design and Planning
Section Four: Personalising the Bathroom
Section Five: Brand Awareness
Section Six: Water Saving in the Bathroom
Section Seven: Choice of Purchase Outlet
Section Eight: The Influence of the Bathroom Fitter
Section Nine: Bathroom Style
Section Ten: How we use our Bathrooms
Appendix one: Methodology

Foam & Bubbles brand partners have access to this report as part of their partnership agreement with Foam & Bubbles

Find out more about Foam & Bubbles brand partners here


The next Bathroom Purchase Behaviour report will be published in June 2018

If you are one of our Bathroom Category Insight Partners, this report will be automatically added to your account

Trends Shaping the Future of the KBB Industry

Trend-Monitor BMA conference 2017

The theme for this year’s Bathroom Manufacturers Association Annual Conference was ‘Turning Change into Opportunity’ and our research director Jane Blakeborough was one of the keynote speakers at this conference in October.

Tackling the wide-ranging subject of trends that will shape the future of the KBB industry, Jane highlighted how global mega-trends are changing our housing requirements, how developing demographic trends are changing our household structure and by necessity we way we use our homes is changing.  She also demonstrated how consumer trends are changing how we purchase products for our homes.

Quick to point out that it is not the trends themselves that will shape the future of the industry, rather it is how businesses react to the changes in consumer behaviours brought about by these trends,  Jane ended with an example of how ‘Wellness‘ has developed into a major consumer trend as a reaction to the bigger trends that are happening around us.

Read about the trends highlighted and discussed in Jane’s presentation here >>

Video: Bathroom Purchase Behaviour report trailer

Bathroom Purchase Behaviour Consumer Insight Report

Trend-Monitor’s research director Jane Blakeborough gives an overview of our latest bathroom purchase behaviour report




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Press Release: The Influence of the Bathroom Fitter

Trend-Monitor Press Release

The bathroom fitter influences the type and brand of bathroom products purchased for a third of all new bathroom installations, according to the latest research into bathroom purchase behaviour.

 The research shows that consumer behaviour is changing in the bathroom market; the bathroom buying journey is becoming even longer with customers turning more to online sources of inspiration as they research their bathroom more than six months in advance of making a purchase.

Compared with a year ago, 46% more people are researching via e-commerce websites for lower-budget bathrooms and 45% more people are researching via online inspiration websites for higher-budget bathrooms.

As the instalment date draws closer, the bathroom fitter becomes highly influential, not only recommending exactly the type and brand of fixtures and fittings to purchase for 27% of bathrooms, but even going so far as to purchase all fixtures and fittings without prior consultation with the homeowner for a further 6% of bathrooms.

The research by home improvement trend experts, Trend-Monitor, was carried out in partnership with online bathroom platform, Foam & Bubbles, and surveyed over 1200 UK bathroom buyers.

By collaborating with Foam & Bubbles we were able use their wide community of homeowners as our research panel and engage with people who had recently installed a whole bathroom, or who were actively planning a new bathroom installation.  This has allowed us to obtain quality feedback and high-level insights into the purchase process” says Jane Blakeborough, Research Director at Trend-Monitor.

This latest bathroom industry report investigates the purchase of a new complete bathroom and the key influences on consumers as they progress through the purchase process, such as budget, family circumstances, brand awareness, research methods and advice sources.  The report reveals how and where consumers research prior to purchase, how they choose their suppliers, how they plan and design their new bathroom, how they find a bathroom fitter, and much more.

Click on the report image to find out more …

Bathroom Purchase Behaviour Consumer Insight

Foam & Bubbles brand partners have access to this report as part of their partnership package with Foam & Bubbles.  Find out more about becoming a Foam & Bubbles brand partner at

Download this press release as a pdf here

Consumer Trend: Simplicity

For the past seven years, the annual Global Brand Simplicity Index study has been tracking the impact of brand and industry simplicity on consumer behaviour and business performance.

The study is the work of Siegel+Gale, a global brand strategy and experience firm, and the results point to simplicity being the ultimate driver of brand loyalty as customers desire more seamless, simpler, faster brand engagement, giving them back the rarest of commodities – time.

The message is simple; brands that delivery clear, human and useful experiences, win.

And simplicity pays, as Siegel+Gale claim; since 2009 a stock portfolio comprised of the publicly traded simplest brands in their global Top 10 has outperformed the major indexes.


Global Brand Simplicity Index performance
Chart by Siegel+Gale


Siegel+Gale’s 2017 study is based on an online survey of more than 14,000 respondents across nine countries and ranks 857 brands on their perceived simplicity.

The data collected is used to generate two scores: An Industry Simplicity Score™ and a Brand Simplicity Score™.

The Industry Simplicity Score rates each industry on its perceived simplicity. Each industry is evaluated on its contribution to making life simpler or more complex, the pain of typical interactions with companies within the industry and how the industry’s communications rank in terms of ease of understanding, transparency/honesty, concern for customers, innovation/freshness and usefulness.

The Brand Simplicity Score rates each brand on its perceived simplicity. It evaluates each brand on the simplicity/complexity of its products, services, interactions and communications in relation to industry peers. The score takes into consideration the consistency of responses, the difference between user and non-user perceptions and the simplicity score for the brand’s industry

Key findings from the study include:

  • Simplicity earns a premium: 64 percent of consumers are willing to pay more for simpler experiences.
  • Simplicity builds loyalty: 61 percent of consumers are more likely to recommend a brand because it’s simple.
  • Complexity costs: Brands that don’t provide simple experiences are leaving an estimated share of $86 billion on the table.
  • Simplicity performs: A stock portfolio of the simplest global brands outperforms the major indexes by 330 percent.
  • Simplicity inspires: 62 percent of employees at simple companies are brand champions—versus only 20 percent of employees at complex companies.

 The 2017 Global Brand Simplicity Index™ Top 10 Brands

  1. ALDI
  2. Lidl
  3. Google
  4. Netflix
  5. IKEA
  6. Amazon
  7. KFC
  8. YouTube
  9. McDonald’s
  10.  SUBWAY

Each year the movement of brands in the Simplicity Index rankings are analysed.  Some brands remain consistent year-over-year, while others fluctuate. Highlights from the 2017 study include:

  • ALDI remains the simplest brand in our global ranking for the fourth year running, while competitor Lidl once again lands in the top three.
  • Yahoo! drops 37 places, demonstrating that web search isn’t always simple.
  • Dollar Shave Club and land in the top US Disrupters—their current multi-billion-dollar valuations are further testament to the power of simplicity.
  • Insurance provider AXA just can’t seem to break out of the bottom spot, as they are the most complex brand for the second year running.
  • Health and beauty product purveyor Sephora rises 44 spots in the global ranking.
  • Global hotel chain Hilton moves up 50 spots in the global ranking.
  • EasyJet has ascended 16 spots, a smooth takeoff for a customer-focused airline.
  • Five out of six brands representing the restaurant industry are in the top 15, indicating that quick service often means simple service.

 Global Disrupters

For the third year running, Siegel+Gale asked people to evaluate “disruptive” brands in the US and UK. These emerging businesses are continuously changing consumer expectations by delivering memorable, meaningful and useful brand experiences.

In the US, the top disrupters include Dollar Shave Club, GrubHub, Square, Spotify and In the UK, the top disrupters include OVO Energy, City Mapper, Shazam, GoPro and My Fitness Pal.

Disrupter brands possess a common characteristic—they place simplicity at the core of their customer experience,” said David Srere, co-CEO and chief strategy officer, Siegel+Gale. “The recent billion-dollar acquisitions of Dollar Shave Club and are further proof that simplicity drives brand loyalty and financial gain.”

To view the full report, visit:

Source: Siegel+Gale


Luxury goes mainstream in the kitchen

luxury kitchen trends

Recent research by Trend-Monitor into kitchen purchase behaviour found that homeowners are incorporating more and more appliances into their kitchens which had previously been considered luxury, high ticket items.

The popularity of ‘luxury’ appliances such as steam ovens, boiling water taps, warming drawers and wine coolers has risen steeply over the past 12 months and these items are now considered to be standard items for today’s kitchen

Luxury is changing and it’s no longer about possessions, now it’s about experiences and status, so which luxury trends can kitchen manufacturers tap into?

The new luxury mindset says less about ‘what I have’ and more about ‘who I am’ – more ethical, more creative, more connected and more tasteful than others.  And within the constant buzz of social media, where better to show this off than in the kitchen.

Entertaining at home is at an all-time high, making the kitchen an area of the home where luxury can be conveyed via the environment and the experience rather than the actual products. Today’s luxury kitchen has become less about an area to cook in and more about somewhere to express one’s creativity and sophistication by experimenting with food from different cultures or re-creating an environment similar to that experienced on a holiday abroad.

And whereas status used to be about how much money you made, in 2017 its about how much money you can give away, think Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan who announced 99% of their shares in Facebook would be given away to serve good causes, and Warren Buffet starting The Giving Pledge with Bill and Melinda Gates which requires its members to dedicate the majority of their wealth to giving back.

Apply these values to businesses and there is an expectation that at the luxury end of the market, brands should be giving back as well, in the form of new sustainable/ethical products, or launching campaigns that generate positive social change.

Ultimately, something as simple as time is often our greatest luxury, and technology at it’s best can provide us with more of this.  As the smart appliance market struggles to live up to all the recent hype, understanding the time-saving element in these appliances will drive sales at the luxury end of the market.


For more information about how homeowners are using their kitchens here in the UK, have a look at our Kitchen Purchase Behaviour, Consumer Insight Report No.2, which surveyed 500 homeowners who  had recently purchased a new kitchen to understand how they use their kitchen and what motivated them to install a new kitchen

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