Enhancements highlight visual appeal and user convenience.
Encouraged by last year's export growth, China suppliers of bathtubs and whirlpools are refocusing developments on the upscale segment. Projections for coming months are raising makers' confidence, with revenue from overseas shipments anticipated to increase at least 10 percent.
In line with the upmarket shift, product aesthetics is being enhanced. Many companies are using brighter colors such as pink, red and yellow. Some are releasing heart, shoeprint and other nontraditional shapes, which are priced two or three times higher than the mainstream because their molding process is more difficult.
To achieve a luxurious and elegant look, suppliers are placing tile accents on the outer sides of the tub. Several enterprises are painting images of flowers and other scenes on certain parts.
Besides enhancing visual appeal, makers are incorporating more conveniences into their designs, especially among highend variants. This trend involves rolling out more models that cater to people with special requirements.
Entertainment functions are also upgraded, with companies integrating TVs, radios and multimedia players. Among the latest releases, the SP-A503 model from Foshan Sengpar Sanitary Ware Co. Ltd has an adjustable 15in LCD TV, DVD player and FM radio. The selection of Guangzhou J&J Sanitary Ware Co. Ltd includes a whirlpool featuring a 32in water-resistant LCD.
The EU, North America and the Asia-Pacific region will continue to be the primary targets of designs.
Products & prices
Bathtubs and whirlpools can be sourced from more than 800 manufacturers, most of which are located in Guangdong and Zhejiang provinces. The first area accounts for roughly half of output.
The majority of the industry's production is exported, with OEM orders making up 80 percent of overseas shipments. Prices vary according to the raw materials and the bundled fixtures and accessories.
Acrylic is employed in about 70 percent of releases. The material is sourced locally or procured overseas, usually from the US. Cast iron, steel and wood are the other options.
Faucets, showerheads and hoses are the common fixtures sold with a bathtub. These come in different types of metal, often with chrome, nickel or zinc electroplating.
Acrylic bathtubs are available starting at $60. Low-end designs are typically oval and white. Bundled with stainless steel, zinc or aluminum alloy fixtures, models reach $150.
Midlevel versions are furnished with stainless steel or copper components, and come in various colors, including red and yellow. Quotes range from $151 to $400.
Higher-priced variants have brass fixtures and value-added functions such as massage jets. These are available in a wider range of hues, and several are irregularly shaped.
For whirlpools, the selection includes models for indoor and outdoor installation. Besides having massage functions, many are equipped with ozone generators and filtration systems. LED lights are installed at the bottom of several units as well.
Seating one or two users, indoor variants range from $500 to $1,500. Four to six nozzles are common in the line, and touchscreen displays can be found in upscale versions.
Outdoor whirlpools, which are typically meant for more than three people, are priced higher. Units that can accommodate over eight users can exceed $8,000.
Models are primarily designed for hotels and other commercial establishments. Many are furnished with LCD or LED screens sourced from local or overseas-based companies such as Sony and LG.
Note:This article was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.
All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.
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