More and more Americans are discovering the delights of the water-spurting bidet, according to recent data from Japanese toilet brand Toto.
The company has revealed that U.S. sales of its high-tech Washlet products doubled between January and June this year, compared to the same period in 2019.
Besides a bidet function to clean your nether regions, the self-cleaning Washlet, which comes in the form of a complete toilet or an attachment that takes the place of the original toilet seat, also features an air blower, heated seat, and deodorizer, among other surprises (don’t worry, there’s also a stop button).
Describing Toto as being “flushed with success,” Japan’s Asahi Shimbun said Toto attributed the sales increase to people’s fear of running out of toilet paper after the pandemic caused a spate of panic buying earlier in the year. Digital Trends recently posted an article about how a high-tech toilet would help to prevent potential toilet paper panic, while at the same time saving you a good deal of money in the long term.
“People are using their homes as offices due to the pandemic, and their lifestyles are changing,” Katsuhito Nojima, vice president of Toto U.S.A., told the Asahi Shimbun, adding that panic buying of toilet paper prompted more Americans to check out the Washlet.
Toto launched its advanced Washlet device in 1980, with the contraption quickly adopted by Japanese families, hotels, offices, and stores throughout the country. It was another 10 years before the company began trading in the U.S., though American demand for the product has remained fairly low. Until the pandemic, that is.
Annual shipments of Washlets outside of Japan reached 580,000 units in fiscal 2018, though Toto is eyeing shipments of 2 million units in 2022, partly propelled by the Olympics (rescheduled for 2021 due to the pandemic), which it believes could generate more interest in the product as visitors from overseas experience it for the first time.
Taking the bidet business very seriously, representatives from the nine member companies of the Japan Sanitary Equipment Industry Association (including Toto, Toshiba, and Panasonic) got together in 2018 to agree on a standardized set of symbols representing all of the different functions on a computerized toilet.
Of course, Toto isn’t the only company that builds snazzy, multi-purpose toilets. Digital Trends has created a collection of some of the best units currently available from a range of providers, with plenty of choice to suit all budgets.
If you’re new to this kind of technology, take a moment to check out this article that tells you everything you need to know.
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