In an article published by Theatlantic.com, Maria Teresa Hart says, “Invented centuries ago in France, the bidet has never taken off in the States. That might be changing.” We agree because we have also noticed that the bidet is becoming a trend in the US.
To determine whether our view that the bidet is becoming a trend in the US is accurate, we took some time to look at the facts and statistics. After all, they say that numbers don’t lie. In this article, we present some bidet statistics you may want to know in 2021.
What are the different types of bidets?
A bidet (pronounced biːdeɪ/) is a receptacle or bowl you use to clean your anus, genitalia, or inner buttocks, usually after using the toilet. Even though they are becoming common in the US, bidets have been a common feature in many bathrooms globally, especially in Asia, Europe, and South America.
Why do the people in these regions prefer the bidet over toilet paper? This is because, compared to toilet paper, water is considered gentler on the sensitive parts that you need to clean after using the toilet. Also, water is likely to leave you cleaner than toilet paper does.
While the bidet may be seeing a comeback of sorts or an introduction in some areas, it has been around for over 400 years.
If you have used a bidet before, you have probably used the freestanding one. This is the most common type. It is located adjacent to the toilet seat, looking like a big lowered sink. It is equipped with a tap used to fill the bidet with water, and a stopper, which prevents water from draining away. Sophisticated ones come with a mechanism for spraying water to facilitate better cleaning.
The handheld bidet consists of a bidet sprayer connected to a water supply. It’s called a handheld bidet because you control the water’s direction using your hands as you clean your anus or other private parts. This type of bidet is sometimes called a bidet shower, bidet spray, or bidet sprayer.
In a built-in bidet, the water jet is built onto the toilet seat. With this type, you don’t need to move to a separate bowl after using the toilet. As you flush the toilet, a jet of water shoots up, directed toward your inner buttocks.
The add-on bidet is most suitable for those that want to save space and avoid the added work of plumbing in a new unit. This type is added to the toilet rim’s back and comes with an adjustable or fixed nozzle. The add-on bidet is possibly the most affordable because it requires the slightest effort to install.
What are the health benefits of using a bidet?
There has never been a better time than now to keep your hands clean. The coronavirus has made us conscious of how some of our habits are detrimental to our health. A bidet ensures that you clean your hands after using the toilet.
To support the health benefits of using a bidet, Healthline.com reports about a 2005 study that concluded that people with bidets had lower urine bacteria levels. The website reports that “Washing your butt with water helps remove more fecal bacteria, potentially preventing you from spreading bacteria from your hands to your surroundings… or to other people.”
Anyone that has used toilet paper to clean themselves after using the bathroom knows that some residue remains between the buttocks. Cleaning the area with water removes more of this dirt than toilet paper can do.
A bidet can also be useful for people living with health conditions or disabilities. For example, it could assist someone who cannot wipe themselves after using the toilet. This promotes independence and gives the person living with disabilities some dignity.
And for individuals with sores, using a tissue can irritate sores, and a bidet could ensure that those sores are not being opened and made worse. Water is gentler and ensures that the sores are adequately cleaned.
What is the size of the bidet market and how quickly is it growing?
Carly Mallenbaum produced an article published by USAtoday.com where she cites BRG Building Solutions, indicating that by 2019, the bidet market was worth $106 million. The same article reports that the market is expected to be growing by 15% per year by 2021.
Even though the popularity of bidets may have been spurred by the toilet paper shortages triggered by the coronavirus, reports as far back as 2017 were already forecasting that they were making inroads into the US market.
Vincent Aviani writes for the remodeling magazine Proremodeler.com. He says, “new technology and intuitive design have convinced many US homeowners to invite the bidet into the privacy of their bathrooms.”
For companies involved with bidets, the future looks promising. Jackie Flynn Mogensen produced an article for the sustainability website Grist.org. She cites the website BidetKing.com, which reported “a 30 percent growth in sales annually.”
Mogensen also tells the story of Tushy, a bidet startup based in New York that has seen its “profits double every year since it was founded in 2016.”
Mogensen quotes the growth marketing director at Tushy, Andy Stone, who says, “Millennials embrace disruptive ideas, disruptive products with much greater ease and enthusiasm than their predecessors.” Adding, “I think Gen Z is going to be a huge [supporter of bidets].”
Where is the bidet mostly used?
The bidet may have been introduced in France, but its use in that country has gone down over the years. An article published by the French news website ConnexionFrance.com reports that “in 1970, 95% of French bathrooms had one, but by 1993 the figure had dropped to just 42%.”
If the bidet prevalence in French bathrooms is dwindling, the story is different in other parts of the world. For instance, ScientificAmerican.com quotes statistics indicating that 90% of homes in Venezuela have bidets.
The Nippon Communications Foundation cites the results of a 2018 survey conducted by the Japanese Cabinet Office. According to the survey, 80.2% of Japanese households with two or more people own an electronic toilet with a bidet feature.
There is evidence that the use of toilets with a bidet function is growing in Japan. A study published in 2017 reported that the percentage of households with a bidet function was 77.5% in 2015.
According to Statista, the percentage of people aged between 50 and 59 that owned a bidet in South Korea by June 2019 was 54%.
How did the toilet paper shortages during the start of Covid-19 in the US affect bidet statistics?
When it became clear that Covid-19 was going to disrupt the way we do things, one of the things that people worried about was toilet paper. Most people who rushed to the supermarkets as the world began introducing rolling lockdowns soon discovered that the tissues aisle was empty.
With the supply chain disruptions and the panic buying that followed, people found themselves turning to solutions like the bidet. The bidet became a practical solution because it doesn’t require any toilet paper.
The effect of the toilet paper shortages at the start of Covid-19 in the US can be seen in the numbers of bidets sold at that time. For example, Mogensen writes, “Tushy … tells me that it broke $1 million in sales on a single day in mid-March and that it saw its revenue jump ten times what it was projected to be in March .”
The growth in bidet sales is mostly credited to the fact that the pandemic may have forced many who were already considering getting a bidet to finally make the decision. This is the point that Brittany Frater makes in her article published by The Guardian. She writes, “Today [beginning of the corona virus], the stress hoarding of toilet paper has become exactly the incentive that many people needed to make a decision they may have been mulling for years.”
Bidet King is an e-commerce site that sells bidets. Wired.com reports that the company also saw a massive rise in sales at the beginning of Covid-19 in 2020. The website quotes James Lin, the owner of BidetKing.com, who said, “We’re seeing increased site traffic, customer engagement, and sales volume.”
What are the environmental benefits of the bidet?
Aviani reports that one of the factors spurring the bidet market is that people are becoming environmentally conscious in a world where 270,000 trees are used to make toilet paper daily.
Using less toilet paper will help preserve the environment by conserving the water and electricity used to manufacture toilet paper. Lloyd Alter writes for the sustainability website Treehugger.com supporting the idea that the bidet is healthier and cleaner.
According to Alter, “making a roll of toilet paper uses 1.5 pounds of wood, 37 gallons of water and 1.3 kWh of electricity.” He adds that using the bidet will not eliminate toilet paper but will cut its use by three-quarters.
Bidet users would dry off their nether regions with a towel if they didn’t have toilet paper. Even those that still use toilet paper will reduce the amount they need by 80%.
The idea that the bidet is more environmentally sound is supported by the American provider of health information Healthline.com which concluded that “buying toilet paper adds up and in the long run is harmful to the environment.”
In a piece published by BusinessInsider.com, Michelle Yan Huang says that “Investing in a bidet seat or bidet attachment can lower your spending on toilet paper by 75% or more. You’ll also be saving some of the 384 trees that are cut down to make a single person’s lifetime toilet-paper supply.”
There is growing evidence suggesting that bidets are environmentally friendly. Alex Abad-Santos writes for the general-interest news website Vox.com and quotes Jason Ojalvo, the CEO of a company that sells bidet attachments. According to Ojalvo, “cutting down our use of toilet paper would also save 437 billion gallons of water, and 253,000 tons of bleach that are used to produce said toilet paper.”
How Much Water Does a Bidet Use?
It may seem strange that we say a system that uses water instead of toilet paper is actually environmentally friendly because it saves water. This is why many people considering a bidet often wonder how much water the system uses.
ScienceAmerican.com, a website that covers advances in research, quotes a manufacturer of bidets, Biolife Technologies, which says that “the amount of water used by a typical bidet is about 1/8th of a gallon, with the average toilet using about four gallons per flush.”
However, people will still need to use water to flush down the human waste, whether using a bidet or toilet paper. That said, water-saving is mainly realized in eliminating toilet paper. With less toilet paper used, less water is used to manufacture the toilet paper.
What are some common misconceptions about bidet use?
In countries like the US, where bidets have not been a standard feature in many homes, various misconceptions discourage people from installing and using them.
Here are a few misconceptions about bidets:
- Bidets waste water: We have already addressed how using bidets saves water in the long run and reduces the amount of money you spend on toilet paper.
- Bidets are unsanitary: Modern bidets are equipped with a self-cleaning function.
- Bidets are challenging to install: Bidets can be designed to be user-friendly, ensuring that all you need to do is attach the device to your existing water supply.
- Bidets feel funny: Understandably, someone who has never used a bidet may feel uncomfortable having water sprayed between their buttocks. While this may indeed be weird initially, those who have used bidets for a long time will tell you that this can be fun.
- Bidets are messy: Bidets are designed to carefully control the water so that you don’t need to mop the toilet after using it.
Indeed, like all other things we use, bidets have their disadvantages, such as the fact that they may spray cold water on you, which may not be pleasant during the winter months. Still, we think that the benefits certainly outweigh the disadvantages—no wonder more Americans are trying bidets out.