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Sanitary Ware: Technology, design war pitch manufacturers for market share

By Princewill Ekwujuru

Battle for market share in the Toilet Sanitary Ware industry has moved into technically advanced, innovative and cutting edge designs by manufacturers to outwit each other in the market.

The factors responsible for this battle for market share are premised on the introduction of Elongated gallon per flush (GPF), Swirl flushing technology, wall mounted flush systems and Left-hand Trip Lever.

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Other factors include Colony GPF,  Tresham Comfort Height, SensoWash as well as the introduction of  Anti-bacterial ions to mitigate bacteria growth.

Companies and products in this innovation war for more market share are Kale, distributed in Nigeria by  C-ceramica Limited;  Twyfod, marketed in Nigeria by Gfairlyne Nigeria Limited.

Others are, Vitra, Duravit, Laufen, Grohe, Maddison, Toto, Anchor Vitreous, Roca and Kohler.

All the brands are foreign with distributors across various markets in Nigeria.

To push for more customer patronage, the manufacturers are using television and online adverts, word of mouth to sell their wares.

They have also adopted  multiple digital marketing strategies that have enabled them  achieve multiple goals.

They are also using direct marketing to display their wares at exhibition centers, such as international trade fairs and sanitary ware exhibitions like the Nigeria  Build Expo Construction & Building Exhibition,  Ceramica West Africa Exhibition,  Africa Building Construction Summit (ABCS) and others.

Vanguard Companies and Markets  observed  that these exhibitions have also helped the  distributors    to penetrate up-country markets, as the various products are lifted from Lagos where seems to be the muster point for the products.

Consumers’ reaction

Majority of the consumers that spoke to  Vanguard Companies and Markets  have their preferences for the sanitary brands.

A customer, James Omojola, who is also a plumber said: “I prefer the  Grohe brand but sometimes I go for the Anchor Vitreous brand, but most times I go for the Grohe products because of their designs and the anti bacterial ions that protect the user.

“For me as a developer I choose the sanitary ware I use for most of my building projects. I pick the one that gives me the kind of outlook I want for a particular toilet facility.

“Sometimes I use different brands for the toilets in the same building, creating a differentiation and aesthetics for the toilets.”

“Most times I use the Vitra, Duravit or Laufen,”    said Muyiwa Akinolu.

According to another consumer, Nmerenini Ajunwa, “when I built my house two years ago, I imported the Toto sanitary ware for my toilets. I fell in love with the brand when I lodged in a hotel in Victoria Island for a business meeting.”

Experts speak

According to a ceramic expert, Rohit Prakash, at an exhibition in Lagos: “We are in the era where we can recreate the history from the ‘Victoria age’, vintage models to the modern and chic contemporary designs seamlessly, and incorporate these designs into your toilet facility. The growth of the sanitary ware manufacturers proves the increase in the demand for high-quality aesthetic designer toilet models among the customers.”

According to Chuks Nsooha, a ceramic expert, quoting a report by Allied Market Research, said: “The sanitary ware market revenue is expected to rise to  $5.68billion by 2025, thereby growing at  four percent from  $4.16 billion in 2017.”

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He went on: “The factors responsible for the increase in revenue are based on their strategies, drivers and opportunities, key segments, and competitive landscape.

The growing trend of concept sanitary ware surge in home sales and growth in online retail are some factors that are propelling the growth of the sanitary ware market.”

He said also: “Opportunities to expand business on online platforms offers opportunities for the growth of the market.

“Based on materials, the ceramics segment is the largest market, capturing more than three-fourths of the market share. It would maintain its dominance through 2025 and also grow 4.4 percent through the period. This is due to the versatility and pleasant appearance of ceramic, making it the most popular material used by manufacturers to manufacture high-quality sanitary ware and fittings.”

Manufacturer, distributors speak

In addition to outstanding design, Grohe’s Chief Executive Officer, Michael Rauterkus, said, “The Grohe Ceramics range incorporates innovative hygienic technologies. The ceramic itself features a surface treatment called Pure Guard that ensures a longer-lasting sparkling finish. Its anti-drip surface enables water droplets to form and prevent limescale from building up.    Anti-bacterial ions in the ceramic surface also mitigate bacteria growth.

“With so many decisions to make when designing a bathroom, knowing that the faucets, shower, basin and toilet can all be chosen from the same range means there is one less thing to worry about. “We believe that a complete bathroom solution is the key to customer satisfaction.”

Likewise, Grohe Design Vice President, Michael Seum said: “Grohe’s ceramic items are specifically developed to integrate seamlessly with the company’s sanitary fittings, in terms of both design and technology. This ensures that the customer simply has to choose their preferred style, and can then be confident that the products will work together, both visually and functionally.

“We wanted to establish a natural relationship between two objects. Detailed tests have been conducted to determine the optimal combinations, with a special focus on facilitating easy installation, preventing splashing during hand washing, and providing the greatest amount of space possible.”

A distributor, Ifeajuna Francis, of Baseline Ceramics Ikeja, Lagos    said: “The elegant simplicity of shaker-style furniture inspires the edgy, neo-traditional design of the Tresham collection.

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“The Tresham Comfort-Height two-piece elongated toilet is accented by an elegant trim that recalls architectural molding and offers an eclectic twist on classic American traditions.    This complements the Tresham collection as well as a variety of styles from classic to modern.”

Another dealer based in Alaba International market, Ojo local Government, Lagos, who deals on various sanitary ware products and who simply identified himself as Grupo said:  “We aim to offer options for all budgets and requirements – whether you’re looking for the cheapest or for a specific use, such as lower height children’s toilets, we’ll have what you need. Our ranges are available in a choice of materials – ceramic or stainless steel – to help with aesthetics and to be vandal resistant.

“We only sell the best sanitary ware from leading manufacturers, including Armitage Shanks/Ideal Standard, Twyford, Franke, amongst others. And, as you’d expect, many of our products offer unique water saving capabilities; either on their own or combined with our range of Flush Controls and Commercial Taps and Mixers.”

Vanguard

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