Category Archives: Surfaces

Kitchen Worktop Performance Report, Consumer Insight 2018


This report investigates consumer expectations for kitchen worktops in terms of performance levels and the attributes influencing the purchase of their next kitchen worktop.

Kitchen category Insight Partners only

The growing importance of worktops in kitchen design has resulted in new materials, colours and textures coming into the market and consumers are now faced with an increasing array of worktop products to choose from.

Consumer expectations in terms of how a kitchen worktop should perform in today’s multi-functional kitchen are complex and often tied into daily habits and household circumstances rather than product knowledge or the price tag.

For this purposes of this research, TREND-MONITOR was pleased to partner with WILSONART a leading manufacturer of laminate, quartz and solid surface worktops.

This partnership has resulted in a focused piece of industry research that is directly relevant to manufacturers and retailers in this fast growing market sector and answers some important questions in terms of consumer purchase decisions, product usage and the performance versus price ratio.

This report identifies consumer needs and expectations with regards to the performance levels of worktop, assesses worktop usage within the kitchen, and evaluates the price versus performance ratio for worktops

The research collected and analysed data in order to understand four key aspects of kitchen worktops:-

• The type of worktops currently in kitchens and utility rooms
• Worktop purchase influences
• Worktop performance levels in-situ
• Attributes which influence future worktop purchases

Key Findings

  1. The popularity of laminate worktops is highlighted in this research with half of the householders surveyed having a laminate worktop in their kitchen.
  2. Over half of homeowners surveyed hadn’t  changed their worktop since moving into their current home. Laminate worktops are kept for the longest, a third are over 10 years old.
  3. 40% of homes have a separate utility room, although 14% of these utility rooms don’t accommodate a worktop.
  4. Aesthetics (colour and finish) and heat  resistance are the key purchase influences for kitchen worktops.
  5. Worktop practicality is more important than price when choosing a new worktop, with 3/4 of householders prepared to pay more for greater worktop practicality.


The research was undertaken via an online consumer survey with a representative sample of UK householders.

The survey was conducted online during April 2018 and targeted a response rate of 1000+ respondents.

The survey consisted of 34 multi-choice questions, plus qualifying and status questions

For the purposes of the research, the different worktop types are categorised as follows:-
– Laminate
– Compact Laminate e.g. Zenith
– Solid Wood
– Solid Surface e.g. Corian
– Quartz e.g. Silestone
– Granite
– Porcelain e.g. Neolith*

If you are a Kitchen category Insight Partner, this report will automatically be added to your account

Global Megatrends and their influence on the KBB Market 2018


This report highlights a number of key global megatrends and assesses the impact these global phenomenons will have on the KBB market in the future.

This analysis of the bigger social, demographic, economic, environmental trends explains how these mega-trends interact with each other and influence today’s consumer in terms of how they live their lives and consequently the type of products they will buy for their homes

For each global megatrend, there are a number of associated macrotrends which are felt at a local level and the challenge for today’s business leaders is to analyse these major global shifts, to look at the different opportunities they represent and move their organisations to respond accordingly, at the same time as being resilient to a constantly fluctuating global landscape.


This cross-category report will be published in November 2018

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


Retail Trends and their influence on the KBB Market 2018


Our round up of retail trends sheds light on where retailing is going in the future and how this will influence KBB retailers. 

We focus on how the different trends interact with each other and they will determine the way in which consumers will want to buy their kitchens, bathrooms and surfaces in the future.


This cross-category report will be published in October 2018

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


Latest research into adding value to a home


New research from the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) and the HomeOwners Alliance (HOA), estimates that it’s possible to add almost £50,000 to the value of a home in just seven days.

The key findings from this research into the projects which can add the most value to a home, in the shortest space of time and in particular parts of the country, include:

  • Removing an internal wall to create an open plan kitchen and diner can add £48,417 in seven days to an averagely priced home in London;
  • Building a garden room or outside playroom for the kids can add £35,611 in 14 days to an averagely priced home in Surrey;
  • Investing in kitchen improvements such as new flooring, a new worktop and new cabinet doors can add £26,838 in eight days to an averagely priced home in Dorset
  • Converting a cupboard under the stairs into a downstairs toilet can add £26,708 in seven days to an averagely priced home in Surrey;
  • Converting part of the master bedroom into an en suite bathroom can add £14,525 in 11 days to an averagely priced home in London;
  • Building a new driveway can add £13,354 in nine days to an averagely priced home in Surrey;
  • Installing decking and lighting in the back garden can add £8,946 in seven days to an averagely priced home in Dorset.

Below is their list of projects, costs and the value they can add to a home, broken down by region

Trend-Monitor-FMB research


Source: Federation of Master Builders


Tile Trends Spotted at Cevisama 2018

Once a year, the best-known names in the Spanish tile industry come together at the Cevisama fair in Valencia. It’s a chance not simply to showcase the latest tile trends but also to reveal the best of manufacturers’ innovation and quality.

This year’s event, held between 5 – 9 February, also highlighted a commitment to sustainability, a trend that’s increasingly important to consumers. Read on to discover some of the other trends on show, including the looks likely to emerge over the next 12 months.


Trend #1: Going for Gold

The allure of gold has long captivated designers, and it’s clear that it’s here to stay.

Take a look at the Scale collection by Equipe Ceramica for an example of how the age-old metallic look has been brought into the 21st century. It includes a sumptuous gold tile that’s available in five geometric formats. All-over shine can be brash, so Scale comes in a choice of other colours, although none dial up the drama more than the killer combination of black and gold (shown).


Scale range by Equipe Ceramica


The gold rush continued over at the Vives stand at Cevisama. Dashing examples included its Kokomo wall and floor tile, made all the more interesting with its use of contrasting textures on a 20cm x 20cm format.


Kokomo porcelain tile from the Nassau collection, Vives


Trend #2: Figures of Fun

We don’t tend to think of tiles as being fun, but the quirky Glimpse Bulldog range from Aparici proves us wrong. It’s created using a double-firing technique for deeper shine and sharper colours, and it’s sure to raise a smile.


Glimpse Bulldog range by Aparici


Elsewhere, Pamesa took a chance on love with Agatha Mille Cuori, a white-body ceramic wall tile bearing a heart motif and seen here in playful pistachio. Maximalists may gravitate towards all-over pattern, but if you prefer a more subtle look, go for a feature wall instead.


Agatha Mille Cuori from Pamesa


Trend #3: Modern Encaustic

There’s nothing new about encaustic tiles: they’ve been falling in and out of favour for centuries. (Think of the ornate Victorian era for a sense of the look.) With the pendulum currently swung in their favour, there isn’t a room onto which encaustic or encaustic-style tiles haven’t stamped their rich artisanal vibe.

The key to working with them is to make sure the pattern and colourway you choose suits the style of your home. The good news is that they work with spaces of all styles and ages.

For example, if you’re looking for a light-hearted touch, the soft pastel palette of Dune’s Stella porcelain tiles is a good choice; offered in 12 designs, the 20cm x 20cm format demonstrates how effective digital printing can be.


Dune’s Stella collection of porcelain tiles


Feeling bolder? Saloni’s new Pobles range could be for you. It’s available in a choice of five designs including Sitges (shown) in an 18.5cm x 18.5cm format.


Sitges from Saloni’s new Pobles collection


Trend #4: Imperfect Beauty

Move over polished elegance – imperfection is a far more manageable look. The key to mastering it is to look for beauty and character. Who cares if your wooden dining table is weathered or your leather armchair is well worn? It’s just a sign of a life well lived.

The fascination for faded elegance translates well to walls and floors. Take the A.mano collection of porcelain tiles by Apavisa: it’s faded for an aged look but maintains a note of elegance.


A.mano collection of porcelain tiles from Apavisa


The FS Briati range by furniture designer Francisco Segarra for Peronda has captured the trend well – look for the worn patterned décor tiles in a large format (45.2cm x 45.2cm).


S Briati range by furniture designer Francisco Segarra for Peronda.


Trend #5: Textured tiles

A plain white bathroom is always a popular look but it can easily start to feel clinical. Guard against this with textured wall tiles and, rather than sticking to one texture, why not throw a few into the mix for maximum visual interest?

To avoid a fight between patterns, copy Pamesa’s example and run with a restricted colour palette to create a cohesive look.  In the bathroom below, a stunning damask-effect tiled splashback steals the spotlight when paired with plainer tiles.

Vellore is available in a 40cm x 120cm format and four colourways.


Damask-effect Vellore tile by Pamesa.


Trend #6: So Retro

As decades go, the 1970s gets a bad rap. Sure, there were some questionable choices – think avocado bathrooms and lurid colour combinations – but that doesn’t mean the whole decade deserves to be written off. In fact, bold retro-inspired patterns are back in a big way, but as Regio Figaro by Aparici proves, they’re a lot easier on the eye.

Even so, this trend isn’t for the faint-hearted. Lima by Pamesa makes a strong 70s statement, but the Trend Monitor team remain divided on its swirly design.


Aparici’s Regio Figaro porcelain tiles


Lima ceramic wall tiles by Pamesa


TREND #7: The Pared-Back Look

Concrete, cement, chipboard: there’s a surprising amount of beauty in the bones of a building. The tile industry is celebrating these materials by replicating their look and feel on ceramic and porcelain. The result is a wealth of tiles with a rough-luxe aesthetic that recalls warehouse conversions with their exposed brickwork, original wooden floors and steel-framed windows.

Top picks include Concrete from Grespania’s Wabi Sabi collection, which features a subtle spatula-effect (available in 31.5cm x 100cm) and Strand by Vives, a porcelain floor and wall tile inspired by chipboard.


Grespania’s Wabi Sabi collection includes Concrete


Strand porcelain floor and wall tiles by Vives


The beauty of tiles is that you can get the effect without the hassle. Hankering after a distressed wall? Fake it with Harvy from the Industrial range in Saloni’s Street Art series.


Harvy from the Industrial range in Saloni’s Street Art series


Trend #8: Marvellous Marble

We tend to think of marble as part of a traditional look, but since making it big in contemporary and cutting-edge interiors, it’s shaken off its classic connotations.

Its appearance in the mainstream is also due to giant leaps in manufacturing technology. Marble-effect tiles look increasingly realistic, and they’re much easier to care for than the original.

Look for the richly veined replicas rather than their plainer counterparts and use them all over. Top picks include Medusa from Grespania’s Coverlam brand – available in a variety of formats with a natural or polished Antracita colour way – or Azalai by Inalco, making a bold statement here in Negro Natural.


Medusa from Grespania’s Coverlam brand


Azalai in Negro Natural from Inalco



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.


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 >>

Tile Trends Spotted at Cevisama 2017

TREND-MONITOR went tile trend-spotting at Cevisama, the Spanish tile industry’s annual exhibition in Valencia

Once a year, Spain’s tile manufacturers come together at Cevisama to exhibit the best of what the ceramic tile industry has to offer including textures, glazes and colours. Covering over 10,000 sq m of exhibition space and attracting 86,000 buyers, also on show was bathrooms, as well as complementary sectors such as natural stone, raw materials, roof tiles and bricks, materials and tools for laying and installing tiles, and machinery used in the ceramic tile industry.

We spotted eight dominant tile trends among the exhibitors.

Tile Trend #1: Go Geometric

Triangles are the way forward, with manufacturers working the trend for geometrics into many of their designs. Favourites included Gayafores’ Melange, a wood-effect porcelain tile featuring triangles in blue, natural or black, and Caleidos by Undefasa, a striking hexagonal porcelain wall and floor tile in five matt colours.

Melange Blue by Gayafores
Melange Blue by Gayafores

Caleidos by Undefasa
Caleidos by Undefasa

Undefasa wasn’t alone in using shape to create a standout proposition. Equally shapely was Diamond Triangle Garden by Realonda, a matt porcelain wall tile available in eight designs and six colours.

Diamond Triangle Garden by Realonda
Diamond Triangle Garden by Realonda

Bellavista has put a refined spin on its Savona collection. It’s available in four neutral colours with a matt finish; we fell in love with the sophisticated greys seen in the bathroom below.

Savona by Bellavista
Savona by Bellavista

Tile Trend #2: Pretty in Pastel

The peril of using pastels is that your home can feel a bit sickly sweet. Fortunately, advances in technology mean manufacturers can now create a wider range of colours. The result is that pale can now also be playful.

Lenos by Onset is an excellent case in point. A new addition to the Harmony Signature collection by Peronda, this porcelain wall and floor tile is available in multiple pastel shades.

Lenos by Onset by Peronda
Lenos by Onset by Peronda

Also check out the Cottobello collection (a lesson in combining patterns and pastels) by Natucer or Apulia R Multicolour by Vives. It’s pretty and practical, and suitable for indoor and outdoor use.

Cottobello by Natucer
Cottobello by Natucer

Apulia R Multicolour by Vives
Apulia R Multicolour by Vives

Tile Trend #3 Mark of the Maker

Surface embellishment was another strong trend at Cevisama , with tile manufacturers delivering an ode to artists. Cue hand-drawn sketches: think chalk marks, pencil and paintbrush strokes used either large scale or as an accent.

Stealing the spotlight was Cas Cerámica’s Carson Relax, a ceramic wall tile with an original art design by American graphic designer David Carson. No less noteworthy was Maritima Alboran by Grespania, a ceramic wall tile featuring a hand-drawn effect in a matt or satin finish.

Carson Relax by Cas Ceramica
Carson Relax by Cas Ceramica

Maritima Alboran by Grespania
Maritima Alboran by Grespania

The mark of the maker is not exclusive to conventional art forms. Underground by Dune is a porcelain wall tile available in a range of patterns that can be mixed and matched to create a graffiti effect. It’s available in matt, satin or a mixed gloss-matt finish.

Underground by Dune
Underground by Dune

Tile Trend #4: A Lesson in Lines

Lines never go out of style and at Cevisama they were everywhere: running vertically or horizontally across the surface of tiles, and criss-crossing to create more drama. Some designers opted for the subtlest of suggestions, while others allowed their lines to stand out – quite literally – using texture. Examples include Mileto by Saloni and Arame by Metropol Ceramica.

Mileto by Salone
Mileto by Salone

Arame buy Metropol Ceramica
Arame by Metropol Ceramica

Designers certainly don’t seem to have felt hemmed in by lines. Instead, they’re feeling inspired. Eleusine, the work of Japanese designer Jin Kuramoto for Peronda, is a natural-stone wall tile inspired by the shadows of lines cast by the sun on a wall. Elsewhere, Osaka by Gayafores is a porcelain wall tile sporting a rough hewn linear effect that can be used to create striking textural patterns.

Harmony Collection by Peronda
Jin Kuramoto created Eleusine for the Harmony collection by Peronda

Osaka by Gayafores
Osaka by Gayafores

Tile Trend #5: Familiar Looks – Refreshed

Even if you are not familiar with the name of Terrazzo flooring,  you’ll have seen the product: a specked surface first used in Italian palazzos and later in offices and public spaces because of its distinctive look and reputation for durability and affordability. It’s made of chips of stone or resin set in concrete and polished to create a smooth surface.


Terrazzo Decor buy Apavisa
Terrazzo Decor by Apavisa


Tarrazzo Natural by Apavisa
Terrazzo Natural by Apavisa

The classic Mediterranean look of Terrazzo has taken off in the last couple of years, conjuring up a sense of relaxed style that’s inspired everything from furniture and furnishings. Terrazzo itself now comes with a twist; metallic accents and unusual colour choices have been thrown into the mix

Portofino by Vives
Portofino by Vives

Tile Trend #6: Turning Back Time

Nostalgia is no longer the preserve of furniture manufacturers: the makers and shapers of the tile industry are turning back the clock too. The Concept collection by Cas Cerámica is an excellent case in point, comprising satin-finished ceramic tiles in five retro designs that give owners the opportunity to create dramatic effects on both walls and floors.

Concept Collection by Cas Ceramica
Concept Collection by Cas Ceramica

Nostalgic prints remain popular because they’re versatile. Take Forma, for example: it’s a relief-effect porcelain wall tile by Apavisa, available in two finishes and four colours, and used to striking effect in the bedroom below.

Forma by Apavisa
Forma by Apavisa

Meanwhile, Royals Noble by Pamesa offers a contemporary take on a traditional pattern and comes in seven colours including Ocean (shown).

Royals Noble by Pamesa
Royals Noble by Pamesa

Our favourite is Moon Deco Pink by Realonda, a retro porcelain tile for walls and floors featuring 10 designs with four patterned colours and two plain colours .

Moon Deco Pink by Realonda
Moon Deco Pink by Realonda

Tile Trend #7: Say it with Flowers

The latest ceramics are in full bloom, featuring flowers either as a feature wall or as a strip effect. At Cevisama, there was barely a brand that didn’t embrace the trend, with collections featuring everything from ditsy buds to statement blooms.

Proponents include Mainzu’s Livorno Sonata collection (think big, bold and exotic) and Futura by Pamesa, which is more traditional in its appeal but no less noteworthy.

Livorno Sonata by Mainzu
Livorno Sonata by Mainzu

Futura by Pamesa
Futura by Pamesa

Of course, there was a counterpoint to all this boldness; after all, florals can be as much about tranquillity as they are about making a statement. Cas Cerámica made a case for a more muted aesthetic with Forever, a handcrafted tile with a homespun feel.

Forever by Cas Ceramica
Forever by Cas Ceramica

Tile Trend #8: Special Effects

While 3D-effect tiles are by no means new, progress in production methods means that manufacturers have evolved the aesthetic to create designs that skillfully draw in the eye. Coming up trumps is Apavisa with Nanoforma – a 3D porcelain wall tile in six colours including seductive silver (shown) – and Natucer with Dual, an extruded porcelain wall tile with a micro crackle glaze, available in six neutral colours.

Nanoforma by Apavisa
Nanoforma by Apavisa

Dual by Natucer
Dual by Natucer

The trend is further crystallised by Colorker’s Lincoln and Realonda’s Frame, a relief-effect porcelain wall tile in two matt colours including Negro (shown) and two metallic colours

Lincoln by Colorker
Lincoln by Colorker

Frame by Realonda
Frame by Realonda

Source:  Cevisama 2017

Find out the key home improvement product trends from other international trade events here

Bespoke Research commissioned by Wilsonart

Bespoke Research for Wilsonart

Wilsonart UK has partnered with research firm JM Blake Associates (now part of Trend-Monitor) to carry out consumer research that is designed to “identify who is buying laminate work surfaces in the 21st century and for what reasons”, with more than 1,000 consumers who had recently bought a worktop questioned through face-to-face exit interviews with retailers and online questionnaires.

Close to half of those questioned said they were purchasing a new worktop to replace surfaces in an existing kitchen, rather than as part of a completely new kitchen installation. Furthermore, only 15% of surfaces purchased were being used for utility rooms, garages, home offices and bedrooms, with the remainder being bought for kitchens.

According to Wilsonart, laminate was the most popular choice of material, followed by solid surface. Slightly more than half of those questioned said they had researched surfaces online, with only 3% having purchased from an online-only retailer.

The survey also found that surface performance, the best material type for a budget, and being suited to certain kitchen designs were the most important factors for consumers when purchasing a new surface.

“Wilsonart has always focused research on design, trends and styles but we wanted to find out about the consumer purchasing motivation,” said Wilsonart UK marketing communication manager Ruby Kiernan. “Who is buying, where are they buying, what are they purchasing and what other uses do consumers have for our products.”

She added: “Most consumers are seeking knowledge, design and customer service hand-in-hand with a competitive price. Notably, though, of all the buying decisions, being the cheapest is at the bottom of the list of reasons to purchase, supporting our theory that confidence has grown in the market and consumers buy on design, not price.”


Source: Wilsonart

Spotted at ISH 2017

ISH bathroom trends 2017

TREND-MONITOR went bathroom trend-spotting at ISH 2017, which was held at the Frankfurt Exhibition Centre between 12th and 16th March 2017

ISH Frankfurt is the world’s largest showcase for innovative bathroom design, energy energy efficient heating and air-conditioning technology and renewable energies. Over 2,400 international exhibitors, including all market leaders, launched their latest products, innovations and technologies onto the world market at ISH, which has been running for over 50 years.

Here’s our top eight bathroom trends from the exhibition …