Even though bidets have been a constant component of European bathrooms for a lot of years, they are slowly making their way to American bathrooms.
The great toilet paper shortage in the U.S during the pandemic unexpectedly gave bidets the spotlight.
People were desperate for a substitute and become aware of a much cleaner way to take care of their businesses.
Bidets And Their Increasing Popularity
The toilet paper shortage at the beginning of the pandemic had increased the market of bidet toilet seats in the U.S. dramatically.
According to the Google trends, search related to bidets jumped up by over 84% in mid-March and has stayed on an upward trajectory compared to previous years.
During the same period, the word “bidet” ranked 20th in the most-searched category of Amazon.
It was preceded by face masks, toilet paper, and hand sanitizer.
At that time, people had mobbed the stores, and eventually, all the stores exhausted their stock.
Thus people were looking for substitutes which increased the sale of bidets so much that many stores ran out of their electronic bidet inventory in about 2 weeks.
Customers were buying them from everywhere – be it retail stores or online platforms.
The awareness that was created during that time did not diminish even after the pandemic panic subsided.
Consumers were searching for cleaner bathroom solutions.
Even though there isn’t as much surge now, bidets have strong demand as people are opting for safer, more hygienic bathrooms in their homes.
It is to be noted that even though the bidet market has been experiencing a steady growth every from 14% to 16%, the toilet paper shortage in the Covid-19 pandemic has generated significant interest in this category overall.
Research conducted by Fluidmaster, a toilet repair company, showed that the sales in the United States were estimated at 250,000 units.
But this figure was before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, so obviously, the market size was much bigger than the projected number.
According to the research firm BRG, the bidet seat market grew by 3.8% in 2020; the bidet seat sales outpaced the 2018 growth by almost 16%.
Tushy, a bidet start-up based in New York, is focusing on rebranding bidet and have been doubling their profits every year.
In December 2019, a study was conducted by Kohler, a well-known bidet brand, to understand the interest of Americans in bidets – the results showed that 55% want to add new technology features in their bathrooms.
69% (about 7 in 10) are inclined to upgrade the bathrooms in their homes.
About 63% (two-thirds) of Americans are keen on adding a personal cleansing feature to their bathrooms.
This percentage is higher in the ages between 18 and 34, going up to 73%.
Overall, more than 50% (54% to be exact) are interested in buying smart toilets for their houses.
Why Are Bidets Becoming More Popular?
Here are 9 reasons why bidets are becoming more and more popular.
● A Better Clean
The feeling of freshness utter cleanliness that one gets after showering is unparalleled.
Toilet paper cannot clean as much as a bidet does.
It washes away grime, sweat, and other unpleasantries much better with a stream of clean, soothing water.
Thus, you’ll feel much more refreshed than you are accustomed to.
● Saves Water
According to a survey, about 141 toilet paper rolls are used by an American in a year on average.
The United States accounts for 20% of the world’s toilet paper consumption.
That is a lot of paper whose only use is wiping. Moreover, to make a single roll of toilet paper, about 37 gallons of water is needed.
I suggest you use bidets as they only need one-eighth of that amount and thus, saves a lot of water.
● Environmentally Friendly
They are a substitute for toilet paper and are cost-effective.
Moreover, less usage of toilet paper means a reduction in the cutting of trees.
The United States has a population of 384 million and counting.
Therefore, the majority using bidets will have an impact on the environment.
With the current global climatic condition, we need to save as many trees as we can.
Besides offering better cleanliness than toilet paper, bidets are also much more comfortable.
Toilet paper has a coarse texture, but if you use bidets you’ll use a gentle water stream for cleaning.
Even if you use a softer texture of toilet paper, it will still depend on friction to remove the dirt.
As time passes, using toilet paper will lead to irritation, and if you need to use the restroom frequently because of some condition, you will get uncomfortable very quickly.
● Cost Efficiency
If you use a bidet, obviously your toilet paper usage will lessen. So, you can save a significant amount of change every year!
● Pandemic Proof
The beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic proved that people buy toilet paper in bulk during times of panic.
If any such situation arises, bidets will be very useful to combat toilet paper shortages.
● Handicap Friendly
People who have mobility issues can use bidets with ease.
Although, it might take some time for them to get used to bidets.
● Offers Better Hygiene And Reduces Germ Spread
They offer better hygiene than toilet paper.
According to a study, correctly using a bidet might reduce the bacterial amount in your urine.
It is due to a thorough cleansing.
It is very evident that cleaning yourself with soap and water is much more sanitary than using toilet paper.
Bidets have the potential to reduce germ spread.
Cleaning with the help of a bidet doesn’t require you to come in close contact with fecal matter.
Thus, you won’t get any such particles on your hands and thereby limiting spreading.
● Enhances The Overall Bathroom Experience
You will get an enhanced bathroom experience.
A study showed that the overall toileting experience of the residents in a nursing home became better because of a wash-and-dry bidet.
Why Did Bidets Have A Slow Growth In The United States?
In the 19th century, plumbing was considered to be a luxury.
They were a symbol associated with the upper class.
It was even thought to be a woman’s device and was linked to contraception and masturbation.
This association was prevalent for hundreds of years.
Seth Wheeler technically invented toilet paper and had a patent for perforated toilet paper in 1891.
Bidets are not a brand new technology; they have immense popularity in the Asian and European markets.
But this demand has not translated in the United States.
A shift in demography has increased the acceptance rate of this device in the US market.
Moreover, the plumbing trends generally have a gradual pace, so it has taken the US longer to catch on to the category.
Before the pandemic, the bidet market was immature and consisted of traditional bidets only.
Recently, there has been an evolution in the market as major manufacturers have stepped up and are now offering a lot more variety.
Another one of the reasons behind the slow growth of bidets in the United States is “toilet taboo.”
You converse with your children about potty training when they are kids but never pick up the topic again when they become adults.
So, none of you are aware of the new ways to better your hygiene.
Recently, Americans have started to experiment with their hygiene methods, and as they try bidets, they become unwilling to go back to just using toilet paper.
Contribution Of Plumbers To The Popularity Of Bidets
People usually take the word of plumbers when it comes to home remodels and new builds.
Consumers consult with them to know about the options available in the market.
Plumbers who are familiar with the bidet technology can suggest it to their customers, thereby boosting sales.
They can also educate the consumers and advocate for the awareness of bidets.
If plumbers know how to install and support bidets, their customers will rely on them to get the latest updates on the technologies available to better their hygiene.
People are now realizing the multiple usages of bidets – besides being a convenient upgrade, they provide better hygiene, an immersive experience and are better suited to seniors, disabled persons, and parents potty training their kids.
The best thing about the bidet is that it caters to a market that lacks an install base – it means that there are a lot of naked toilets.
So, this plumbing fixture has a lot of opportunities to improve the bathroom experience as a whole.
The bidet market is expected to grow with new products, technological advancements giving rise to unique features, and better accessibility of the device to the customers.
With the given demand, the market is estimated to grow continuously for the next five years.