Lakes recently undertook a comprehensive market investigation beginning with independent market research and customer insight. The aim of the research was to guide Lakes’ strategy and investment in new products, and reveal significant points about the shower enclosure market.
Earlier this year, MRA Research interviewed a representative sample of 120 merchants and bathroom stockists. The research measured awareness and perceptions of shower enclosure brands, performance and market positioning. It benchmarked the Lakes brand, products, service, support and marketing against competitors. This was followed by marketing audits and in-depth reviews of the market, demographic and lifestyle trends.
The benchmark research demonstrated that while merchants’ prompted awareness of the main shower enclosure brands is good, as you’d expect, ‘top of mind’ unprompted awareness is low. It’s a crowded market with lots of multi-stocking, and few of the over 50 brands mentioned by merchants and bathroom stockists could be named without prompting. The average number of brands stocked was 3.6 a branch.
In the research, merchants and stockists rated 20 factors for importance, and rated brands for performance against these criteria. Sales & Marketing Director Mike Tattam, explains how Lakes performed: “coming top for service, quality, deliveries and guarantees. We also outperformed the market when rated for ‘A company I trust’ and for ‘They value my business’.
“The shower enclosure largely defines the shower, and it’s the showering space that enables the showering experience,” Mike Tattam explained. “Traditionally, enclosures were largely functional, with scant regard for design. However, shower enclosure brands are now adapting rapidly to the growing demand from ‘The Haves’. These are mainly over 55-year old homeowners, largely unencumbered by mortgages, whose homes have been appreciating strongly. They have the money and they’re willing to pay for the quality, colour, style and design they want. It’s important that we and our customers capitalise on this significant opportunity.
“Installers selling to the Haves tend to grow faster and do better than other installers,” Mike continues, “so it’s encouraging that 81% of respondents in the research found Lakes adds value to their business. With our investment in new products and supporting services we’re focusing on supplying not just what the shower enclosure market wants and needs, but also what outlets that sell Lakes need.”
Compared to other ‘bathroom’ products, people spend less time thinking about shower enclosures. They look through the glass at the shower head, fittings, or tiles before they see the enclosure. “That’s because enclosure brands have left it to others to promote showering spaces,” Tattam says, “and not explained why or how the showering space is important. Lakes plans to change that.