Today, more than ever before, users experience architecture and design differently across the globe, but the macro-trend that has helped redefine bathroom or kitchen spaces is the fact that they are moving from being rational spaces to emotional ones. With changing times and the consumers being exposed to luxury and comfort, bathrooms and kitchens have evolved beyond being ancillary spaces in the homes and have become an integral part of people’s lives. It is not just a necessity anymore, it has become a place that is to be done with a certain amount of poetry. A bathroom or kitchen must be easy to use, hygienic, ergonomic, and safe while providing a sense of well-being along with reflecting unique lifestyles.
Modern consumers look beyond functionality. Since a modern consumer is well-read, more aware than ever, their purchasing decision is based on attributes beyond utility. We have witnessed the growing demand for products or solutions that add value, convenience, style, aesthetic, and are sustainable to the environment.
With growing concerns regarding health and hygiene due to the pandemic, consumers today are living differently, buying differently, and in many ways, thinking differently. The consumers have understood the importance and need of hygiene in their lives and are willing to make a change in their lifestyle to adapt to the ‘new normal’.
As per the research by Accenture, consumer priorities have become centered on hygiene – around 64 percent of people are fearful of their health and 82 percent are fearful for the health of others, which has given impetus to demand products that are not just hygienic but make the modern consumer feel secured and safe. Besides hygiene, the accelerated digital adoption and the growing importance of online in the browse-to-buy purchase path of the consumer has made it critical for the brands to cater to this space - a rise that is likely to sustain post-pandemic.
A modern consumer views a bathroom or kitchen as an extension of his personality today. Moreover, people are spending more and more time at home, due to the restrictions and lockdown which has left them with a lot more spare time than before spurring the demand for hassle-free up-gradation in order to elevate their mood. This resulted in a rise in demand for personalized products like niche kitchen appliances, sanitary ware products, decorative lighting, amongst others. Although in the current scenario, people are still hesitant to dive into complex renovations. It becomes important for brands to stay relevant and customize their offerings keeping consumer-centricity at the core. To keep us with the changing trends, the latest technologies and innovations are blended in with the class, convenience, and style.
Consumers want hassle-free and quick renovations to their spaces that are easy to install and provide maximum satisfaction. Therefore, it is always essential to identify and monitor emerging trends, so that one can develop business strategies that are based on projected user behavior.
With all this, the consumer is also more educated and aware of the environment. There is a conscious effort from their end to move towards brands that vouch for sustainability and are making an effort towards the environment.
As per a survey conducted by IBM, nearly 6 in 10 consumers surveyed were willing to change their shopping habits to reduce environmental impact. Nearly 8 in 10 respondents indicated that sustainability is important for them. And over 70 percent were ready to pay a premium of 35 percent, for brands that are sustainable and environmentally responsible. Sustainability was never out of trend but we have witnessed an accelerated demand for solutions that are holistic. Over the recent years, many organizations have cut down on single-use plastics, making it the most effective method of supporting sustainability. Additionally, as concern about climate change continues to grow, companies proactively engage in other environmental issues, such as cutting carbon emissions. Such practices will definitely help the overall industry to move forward together and contribute to a better future. It is important to find the balance between the style, functionality, and sustainability for each product and design.
An evaluation of the trends across consumer behavior brings to the surface a nuanced reality: The consumer is changing because the environment around them is evolving, and there is an increasing bifurcation between income groups that affects spending patterns. Hence, consumers cannot be viewed in isolation from a competitive market that is undergoing a significant transformation driven by the explosion of choices. In many ways, modern consumers are like consumers of yesterday. If the companies want to cater effectively to the ever-evolving consumer needs and identify new pockets of opportunity, it is imperative for them to understand the demographic, economic, and competitive milieu that the consumer is responding to.
- This article is penned by Satoshi Konagai, Leader, LIXIL Water Technology, Asia Pacific.