Convenience and the creature comforts of home are factors shaping the market for bath accessories, which are increasingly incorporating digital technology into the newest offerings, according to designers and suppliers.
While trends in fixtures encompass square-shaped and clean-lined faucets, high-arc units and single-level chrome handles, hands-free faucets using smart technology is the biggest trend in 2012, experts say.
“Hands-free faucets was a huge success for Delta in the kitchen with its smart touch technology,” said Ashley Perry, showroom consultant, Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, King of Prussia, Pa. “They have now introduced this in the bathroom on the single-handle lavatory faucet from Jason Wu.”
Wu, a fashion designer, collaborated with luxury bathroom company Brizo to create a collection of bathroom faucets featuring SmartTouch Plus technology, which allows for a hands-free and touch-sensitive operation.
This so-called “smart faucet,” with its sleek modern design and pink glowing light, is gaining wider appeal in the higher-end markets. The faucet can be programmed to dispense water at a chosen temperature; the technology recognizes the user’s face and automatically turns on the water to that temperature.
New faucets entering the market in 2012 included Kohler’s Tripoint, a touchless electronic faucet that is factory set, so there is no need to calibrate; and the Muirsis Pinnacle in satin nickel, which includes motion-activated on/off, flow control and temperature adjustment with multiple pre-sets.
Perry said most manufacturers offer matching bath accessories to their faucet lines for added convenience. “Most often the accessories are the last decisions to be made by the homeowners,” she said. “This allows consumers to save money on the initial purchase but also take some time to think about what kind of accessories they would like to add to the room.”
Max Isley, co-founder and partner of The Kitchen & Bath Channel, said that while convenience is influencing purchase decisions, there is still a segment of the population that wants to pamper themselves. “The hotel/motel industry has started to upgrade their bathrooms, so people who are coming back from