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Analysis of the development path of Chinese bathroom brands

Posted on April 02 2022

In recent years, the development of China's bathroom brand industry can be described as mixed. On the one hand, the number of bathroom manufacturers has soared, and the production capacity has also grown geometrically, becoming the world's largest producer and consumer of bathroom brands. According to data, China ’s sanitary ware brands account for 30% of the world ’s total, and bathroom accessories also account for nearly 35% of the world ’s total. Some even predict that in 2015 China ’s sanitary ceramic output will reach 25.83 million pieces, and the market size will It will reach 90 billion yuan. On the other hand, China's sanitary ware manufacturers are mainly small and medium-sized enterprises. Hand-made workshops and manual production are common. There are not many large-scale production. The product advantages are also concentrated in the low-end market. Country, but the profits made are very meager. In terms of brand influence, compared with the huge number of manufacturers and output, it is even more embarrassing: not only has not been able to enter the foreign market, even the "one acre three points" of the domestic high-end market is also monopolized by foreign brands . After years of rapid development in China's sanitary brand industry, the status quo is large but not strong, and the reasons for this phenomenon are also various.

Later start, short development history

It is understood that China's modern sanitary ceramics began in 1914. It was nearly a century since Tangshan Qixin Ocean Grey Company produced China's first modern sanitary ceramic product, but the history of sanitary ceramic development before the reform and opening up was very slow, and by 1978 the annual output was still less than 2.3 million pieces. Only in the early 1980s did it enter a period of sustained development. After the 1990s, China ’s sanitary ceramics developed in a blowout manner. In 1993, it became the world ’s largest producer and consumer of sanitary brands. According to data, the output of sanitary ceramics in 2008 exceeded 160 million pieces. Based on this, most people think that the development of sanitary ceramics in China has only started for more than two decades, and the brand development has been really taken seriously by manufacturers in recent years. Compared with the hundreds of years of development history of foreign sanitary ceramics, it seems more "Young" and lack of historical precipitation are the main reasons why China's sanitary ceramics are large but not strong.

"Although the development of ceramics in our country has a history of several thousand years, the true history of the development of sanitary ceramics is very short, only more than two decades. And we have not caught up with the best period of development. For example, in the early 1990s, China planned by The economic transition to a market economy is a good time for sanitary ceramics to actively create a brand and manage a brand. However, in this period, China's sanitary ceramics have just started and are still in the stage of expanding production and busy markets. The brand concept is very weak. Domestic sanitary ceramics brands The history is very short and has not passed the test of time. The big foreign brands are different. For example, Villeroy & Boch has established a factory in 1748 and has accumulated more than 260 years of history. China ’s earlier sanitary ceramics, Tang Tao The factory was only established in 1904. During the development process, due to the changes in the national system, this brand has fallen down. At present, our well-made brands such as Huida, Wrigley, Hengjie, Youlai, etc., have a history of their development. Both are relatively short and need to withstand the test of time. A strong brand needs to withstand the test of time and the market. At present, China's bathroom brands Large but not strong is largely related to our development history. During the Shanghai Kitchen and Bathroom Exhibition, Li Aidang, the marketing manager of Italy China Ceramics, said to reporters about the Chinese bathroom industry.

Feng Bin, deputy general manager and brand director of Grace Bathroom, analyzes the changes in the structure and consumption concept of Chinese consumers, because consumers' consumption views can often promote the development of corporate brands.

"China has been reforming and opening up for more than three decades, but in the past ten years, Chinese talents have gradually raised questions about happiness. The previous two decades have only addressed issues such as warmth and saturation and settlement, and most of the demand for bathroom brand products has also been It is staying on the function and not paying much attention to the brand. With the improvement of living standards, everyone's consumption concept is slowly changing, the level of consumption is increasing, and the brand is becoming more and more particular, which prompts manufacturers to find ways to become bigger and bigger. In fact, the situation that our sanitary brand industry is now facing has also appeared in European and American countries. This is a process that must be experienced during the high-speed operation of the economy. The history of the development of sanitary ceramics in many foreign countries is close to two hundred years. We have gone through their history of more than 100 years in just 20 years, and they have already experienced the problems we faced. "Feng Bin said.

Lack of good brands and bathroom manufacturers

There are many sanitary ware manufacturers or sanitary brand brands in China. No one can give accurate data because the barriers to entry are low. There are many small businesses and small brands without registration, and they are many and complicated. But everyone knows that we lack international International outstanding brands and leading international companies. The leading brands and leading factories are the industry benchmark, shouldering the heavy responsibility of technological innovation and market development, which can drive the development of the industry and radiate to other related industries.

Looking back at the history of the development of modern sanitary ceramics in China, it is not difficult to find that most of the development of China's sanitary ware manufacturers started from export or OEM. Chaozhou, the largest sanitary ceramic production base in China, is the best example. There are nearly a thousand sanitary ceramics production enterprises in Chaozhou, because the quantity of sanitary ceramics required for export in the early stage is very large, and the barrier to entry for OEM production is very low. A simple factory shed and a few workers can be hired to produce it. The cost of brand building and technological innovation. After the establishment of many manufacturers, they are helping large domestic and foreign brands to produce and make wedding dresses for others. Until the foreign market has deteriorated in recent years, they have gradually shifted their focus from foreign sales to domestic sales. OEM production and export sales have allowed many sanitary ceramics manufacturers to complete the accumulation of original funds, but they have also neglected the construction of their own brands and the development of the domestic market, which has directly led to the emergence of a large number of large-scale sanitary ceramics production enterprises in Chaozhou today. , But there are not many first-tier brand companies.

As a result of the lack of bathroom manufacturers and leading brands, China's high-end market is almost monopolized by foreign bathroom giants TOTO, Kohler, and American Standard. Domestic high-end places such as five-star hotels, airports, high-end shopping malls and other high-end projects are mainly choosing foreign brands when purchasing sanitary products. Even ordinary consumers also think that foreign sanitary brands are high-end brands. And most of China's independent bathroom brand brands can only fight in the second and third-tier markets. With the fierce competition, foreign first-tier brands have gradually extended their tentacles to the second- and third-tier markets. Manufacturers without brands or low brand awareness are increasingly under pressure to survive, and then slowly realize that they need to improve their brand influence.

Aiming at the phenomenon that the sanitary brand industry has many brands and lacks leading brands and leading enterprises, Li Aidang said: "Our domestic companies are not good at managing brands. Or to a higher level, we lack the patience before the success of the brand. , Can't bear the loneliness of running a brand, which is related to the quick success and impetuousness of the enterprise. "

"This is the development law of each industry. Many industries such as home appliances and clothing have also experienced the process from growth to development. There are many brands in the bathroom brand industry, but there are not many manufacturers with genuine brand awareness. In the early stages of development, everyone Did not focus on brand building, because many people think that making sanitary ware is easy to make and do n’t need a lot of investment. In fact, the cost was not high in the past, even if it is a brand, it can be operated. Some manufacturers even operate a brand after a period of time , I feel that this brand is not good, and immediately change another brand, another or not, resulting in the status quo of a manufacturer of four or five brands. Manufacturers operating like this have no real brand awareness. Of course, this is also with our traditional The concept is related to the characteristics of the industry. There are also some speculative behaviors in this industry. They feel that the investment is not large, and if they lose money, they will not lose a lot, and they can earn money to switch to other industries, such as real estate. Brand. "Said Yang Fan, general manager of Thai Tao Sanitary Ware.

Insufficient capacity for independent technological innovation

Although China's sanitary ceramics started late, but because of its good heritage in ceramic technology, coupled with rapid development in recent years, many manufacturers in the bathroom brand products flush, wash function, anti-siphon, water seal depth, pipes Breakthrough progress has been made in traditional technologies and functions such as conveyor functions, which have reached or even surpassed the level of foreign first-tier brands. However, there are also many manufacturers that have not worked hard on technological innovation and functional research and development, and simply rely on imitating or even directly copying the design and related technologies of well-known domestic and foreign bathroom brands in the market. Often a brand launches a new product, and several or even dozens of similar products will soon appear on the market, and even the product's slogan is imitated, causing a serious phenomenon of product homogeneity in the industry. It can be said that although China has a good heritage in ceramic technology and unique resource advantages, most manufacturers compete with international brands by virtue of the expansion of quantity and the cost advantage of cheap labor. Their own technological innovation, brand building, and design have not reached international brands. Level.

"China's sanitary brand industry has a large output and many brands, but they are not strong. The main reason is that we don't have a strong sense of innovation. We follow others blindly, how can we talk about transcendence? Innovation includes technological innovation and appearance innovation. It is the foundation for brand development and growth. At present, many sanitary ware manufacturers are keen to play advertising wars and price wars, but not to fight innovation wars. Although there will be certain benefits in the short term, they must not be developed in the long run because product technology innovation is the enterprise. Motivation to move forward. Many companies are aware of this, but they have not done it with care. When many bathroom manufacturers develop customers, product samples are given away for free, and our product samples are costly to buy because we Each of our products contains the painstaking efforts of our technological innovation. We invest a lot of money every year to engage in technological innovation. Although the products launched are also imitated by others, it does not reduce our enthusiasm for technological innovation because Good protection is continuous innovation, so that others imitate our past products. "Liu Dongpo, general manager of Jiufu Sanitary Ware believes that the lack of innovation is the key reason why China's sanitary ware is large but not strong.

"In terms of common product technology, we may not have much difference compared with foreign brands, but there is still a big gap in intelligent technology, especially in terms of design concept. We are still far away. Shanghai Sanitary Ware During the exhibition, TOTO, Kohler and other foreign giants attracted the attention of many people, not because of how large their showrooms are, nor because of how trendy their products are, but because their product designs and product displays have been able to convey to consumers A unique feeling. They are no longer selling products, but selling an idea, a feeling, and our domestic brands are still at the level of selling products compared to them. Already ahead of us a lot. "Feng Bin, deputy general manager and brand director of Grace bathroom said.

Lack of innovation ability and imitation of plagiarism are the key reasons for China's sanitary enterprises to be large but not strong. They always stay in the low-end market. The key to upgrading from "big" to "strong" depends on technological innovation and design creativity. Added value.

Manufacturers are too biased on short-term benefits

The rapid development of the bathroom brand industry has allowed a group of excellent manufacturers to gradually enter the international market after occupying a certain domestic market share, and is moving towards success. However, many problems have been exposed. For example, due to the rapid development rate, some manufacturers have emphasized short-term benefits. The development and growth of sanitary ware manufacturers need a strong sales channel to support it, and they also need to invest a lot in product technology research and development and brand promotion. However, many sanitary ware manufacturers just ignore these two points, or take a simple emphasis on marketing and technology. Brand price war strategy.

"The construction of channels and the construction of brands requires a lot of manpower and financial resources, and it takes a long time to be effective, and the return on such investments is often invisible. The owners of many manufacturers would rather take 20 million to buy land to develop real estate. Not willing to invest 2 million in channel construction and brand building. Because investing in an entity such as real estate, things can really be seen in front of you. Investing in channel construction and brand building is often invisible, so many bathrooms Manufacturers are unwilling to pay this money. In fact, the development of an enterprise must be supported by strong channels, and the promotion of a brand also needs to be baptized by the market and refined by the commercial sea. These require real gold and silver investment. And many of us The company saved this money, and hoped the market development on the 'price war, promotion war', hoping to open the market in this way to make money. Even some well-known brands come together for fun, often engaged in promotional activities, As soon as a promotion is launched, a price war will be launched. A toilet is 299 yuan or 199 yuan. The purpose is to clear the inventory. Such marketing methods are very bad. In the long run, this will only make the price war in this industry more and more chaotic and allow more and more companies to stay in the low-end market for a long time. Hovering, there is no way to be stronger. "Mr. Zhang, general manager of a bathroom company, said worriedly when talking about the emphasis on short-term benefits of bathroom companies.

In addition to despising channel construction and brand building, many bathroom manufacturers have taken the idea of ​​“shortcuts, borrowing boats to go to sea”, wearing vests and rubbing well-known brands to sell on the market, such as SSUUUU, AR? ROVV (two Vs), Southern Wrigley, Japan Wrigley, etc., and have succeeded to a certain extent. Driven by these manufacturers, people outside the industry also seem to see business opportunities. They spend thousands of yuan to register a brand similar to a well-known brand, set up a simple factory shed, and even transfer goods directly from other factories to try to make hot money. Although these cottage companies can not be bigger and stronger, nor can they be developed in the long run, their appearance has caused a great negative impact on the brand building of the entire bathroom industry in China, and even caused the entire industry to carry the plagiarism and cottage infamy.

缺乏 Lack of standardization of management and market operation

"The bathroom brand industry is large but not strong. It is mainly due to the current lack of standardization of management and market operation of enterprises, and the failure to establish and improve a management system consistent with the actual situation of the enterprise, which can easily cause confusion in corporate management. For example, An agent of a well-known brand has complained that due to the lack of standardized management, the manufacturer's inventory data has never been accurate. Because the internal operation process of the manufacturer has not been established, not only the shipment data is not recorded, the new The products ca n’t be put in the warehouse, and the shop supervisors often adjust the goods. Some agents give gifts to the shop supervisors in order to pick up the goods, and some agents even live in the factory to wait for delivery, which makes both sides tired. The chaos of product management will have a great impact on the operation of the market. In addition, other management irregularities are very unfavorable for the growth and expansion of enterprises. "Said Zhang Xuezhi, vice president of Guangdong Olejia Kitchen & Bathroom Co., Ltd.

For the moment, small and medium-sized enterprises in the entire bathroom brand industry in China account for the majority, because of their small scale and weak strength, most manufacturers adopt family-style management in management. This kind of management played an important role in the original capital accumulation of the manufacturers in the early stage, but with the development of the enterprise, some disadvantages have gradually been exposed. For example, the concentration of power is serious, and the production and sales cannot be separated. The owner of the enterprise has multiple positions, and is responsible for both product development and production, as well as product sales.