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Companies and service providers of all shapes and sizes are spending countless dollars, time and energy trying to figure out what drives a consumer to buy from one company or another. New research from TOTO USA, Inc., a manufacturer of high-quality plumbing products for over 90 years, sheds some light on just that subject, showing that one of the most prevalent trends with consumers today is a strong desire for innovative products, but only if they have real-world benefits, like saving water and money, reliability, or better performance.

"The survey findings are not surprising to us at TOTO because those looking for quality toilets, showers, faucets, or bathroom sinks have always turned to us," said Daijiro Nogata, President of TOTO Americas. "Providing more comfort and reliable performance are the benefits of our innovation, and that's always been how TOTO delivers real value." During the recession, news stories as well as consumer confidence surveys have pointed to unwillingness on the part of consumers to spend money on items of questionable quality or to buy something just because it is cheaper.

TOTO's own study confirmed that quality and reliability are primary drivers in consumer purchasing choices, perhaps more so now that the recession has tightened pocket books and wallets. The top five answers to a consumer insight question back this up:

  • I typically do my research to know which products are the best (79%)
  • I'm willing to pay more for superior quality and value because I know it's a good investment (77%)
  • I typically buy the best products I can afford (76%)
  • I am willing to pay more today for the best quality products, because I know they will save me money in the long run (76%)
  • I like to deal with companies who do the right thing (71%).

The research also noted that saving money and water are two examples of tangible benefits that any consumer, in any household income bracket, will appreciate in the new economy. That bodes well as most homeowners long to bring the indulgences they experience in hotels and spas into their own homes, as the modern day bathroom has moved far past simply a shower and a shave. Creating a peaceful bathroom sanctuary can help introduce small luxuries into life and is sure to elevate one's mood and outlook.

According to the U.S. Remodeling Sentiment Report, there is a 13% increase in the number of homeowners who say they will remodel in the next 12 months. Consumers are making more of an investment in their personal spaces and finding that creating their own bathroom haven to enhance their standard of living is attainable.

"To help create a spa-like retreat, TOTO offers many choices that make almost any design aesthetic possible while providing the ultimate in performance and value," stated Jason McClain, senior marketing manager of TOTO USA. "And while most US homes are traditional in design, people are mixing and matching design styles to create unique and very personal bathroom spaces."

One last note from the research for the builder, renovator and contractors to consider is that to a great extent, homeowners are stealing space from other areas in their home, a barren closet or spare bedroom to make their master bathroom bigger--creating the definitive spa bath. With a little imagination and planning, transforming a bathroom into a larger space is easier than it looks and a great way to construct an indulgent retreat in one's own home.

[Note: TOTO is the largest plumbing manufacturer in the world with 80 affiliated production facilities globally, www.totousa.com.]

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