We spoke to Kitchen & Bathroom Journal about the increasing popularity of hot taps, how they meet the need for convenience and sustainability and why consumers now have more choice than ever before.
How is the market for multifunctional taps evolving in the UK?
The hot water tap market has risen massively in popularity – we can see this through the expanding number of manufacturers launching this type of product, rising sales as well as independent survey results. For example, over a fifth of homeowners on Houzz said a boiling water tap was their dream kitchen appliance (22%)*.
No longer a luxury item, the hot water tap is now regularly becoming an on-trend appliance to have installed when updating the residential kitchen. This has allowed companies such as Zip Water UK to expand their ranges and adapt for the growing needs of consumers. For example, the needs are now catered for those who are looking for more than just a boiling water appliance but also one that provides instant chilled and sparkling water with a high filtration capability.
*2016 Houzz UK Kitchen Trends study
How has the trend for multifunctional taps filtered into the middle market?
Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the hot water tap as a must-have kitchen appliance. However, many people are still unaware of the range of hot water taps available, which has expanded to such a degree (thanks to demand) to include options to suit all budgets. Depending on what is important to the consumer, people can choose from a relatively basic model to an ‘all singing, all dancing’ version that includes a number of water options, energy efficiency modes, advanced filtration and luxury finishes.
What factors are influencing kitchen tap design in 2018?
Consumers are continually looking for products that have the versatility to provide a solution to the user’s multiple wants and needs, while also maintaining a stylish design. This versatility is applicable to the multi-functional tap – ‘taps that can do it all’ appeal to the consumer by serving numerous purposes but only exist as one appliance. For instance, five-in-one taps like the All-in-One Arc from Zip Water UK combine the ultimate functionality – filtered boiling, chilled and sparkling water, plus unfiltered hot and cold – all in a flawless design.
In terms of design and finish, we are seeing a greater scope of colours and styles available ensuring the tap complements any interior style. Our platinum range of finishes suit any interior style, whether that be industrial, classic, minimalist or scandi. We’re finding that warm metallics in particular are proving popular such as brushed gold and rose gold – these complement the current favoured kitchen colours of grey and navy particularly well.
How is technology playing its part?
Energy saving technologies have been truly influential to both manufacturers and the consumer market, not only for the positive effect this can have on energy bills but also for the sustainability aspect – a hot topic that is important to both commercial and residential buyers. The eco mode on Zip’s HydroTaps (which provide boiling, chilled and sparkling filtered water in an instant) save power when the HydroTap is not is use, saving money for the user but also boosting the efficiency of the product overall. While the use of air-cooling technology, rather than water-cooling, means that not one precious drop of water is wasted.
Zip’s MicroPurity filtration technology also encourages sustainable living, ensuring consumers have access to water that is as fresh and pure tasting as bottled water, without creating the damaging plastic waste. This market-leading 0.2 micron filtration is 25 times better filtration than a standard water filter jug. It not only removes dirt, bacteria and contaminants from the water that other systems may not remove, but also plastic fibres with a 10 micron diameter which are not currently filtered out of our drinking water.
How are manufactures helping to educate the market on the benefits of multifunctional taps?
There is definitely more of a focus towards consumer-driven marketing, and this has helped to increase the knowledge of the products, particularly in terms of convenience. Thanks to greater showroom promotion and interior designer support, people are more aware of the benefits of having such a product.
We are, however, starting to see environmental responsibility as a driver for purchasing such a product, as it helps cut environmentally damaging bottled water waste – this is a message we’ve been keen to highlight as the impact of plastic waste becomes more acute.
Many people opt for buying bottled water because they dislike the taste of tap water. Zip’s 0.2 micron filtration system removes the chlorine and impurities in tap water to give it a clean, fresh taste. Eradicating the need to buy expensive bottled water and with the average plastic bottle taking an average of 450 years to break down, using a reusable alternative is surely the answer. This message is extremely important, and one all manufacturers must adopt.
How can retailers encourage consumers to upgrade their traditional kitchen tap?
We believe that it’s only by experiencing the product can a consumer really appreciate how fantastic multi-functional taps are. They may have heard about them, may even have seen them at friends’ houses, but it’s only when they pour themselves a glass of beautifully clean, pure-tasting chilled water, or make a cup of tea in seconds, that they understand the value these products add.
The retailer needs to make it clear how multifunctional taps can complement the lifestyle of every user, as well as every style of kitchen. Whether it’s for the keen chef looking to speed up the cooking process, for someone wanting to reduce their reliance on bottled water or for the busy family home where users are looking for the safest product available, multifunctional taps make life easier for all.
In addition, with the emergence of five-in-one taps such as the Zip All-in-One Arc, customers don’t have to add another tap to their kitchen, but can streamline their appliances down to one highly functional tap – a huge plus point for those who can’t stand cluttered worktops! Discussing the customer’s needs and really understanding their lifestyle is crucial as there will be an option that appeals to everyone and fits every type of budget.
What are your predictions for the market going forward in terms of market growth and product innovation?
It’s likely we’ll see a development in technology to further advance convenience, as well as increased energy saving features.