If bidets have just landed on your radar, you may be surprised to learn that this bathroom appliance is commonplace in countries around the world. In the United States, though, bidets didn’t catch on – until this past year. How did this happen and, more importantly, why?
A Question Of Cost
Bidets, in the simplest sense, date back to the 17th century, but in its modern iteration as a convenient toilet attachment, the device has only really been around since the 1960s. That’s when the American Bidet Company attempted to market a product he saw as a handy hygiene aid, one he had redesigned to help his aging father.
Unfortunately, the product was nearly impossible to market to the US market – it seemed a distasteful topic of conversation – and though it attracted buyers in Japan, it also came with a hefty pricetag. At about $500, it was out of financial reach for the majority of potential users, leaving it on the sidelines.
In the US, it never made sense to try to decrease the price point because there was a good chance even that change would attract buyers. However, since the device has continued to be refined in other countries and, now that there is real interest in it in the US, it’s now possible to produce much more affordable versions that still boast a variety of appealing features.
Another reason that bidets are finally having a moment in the United States is because they offer substantial benefits when it comes to sustainability. People want to live in eco-friendly spaces and are willing to make changes to their homes to make them more sustainable.
Consider, then, that bidets don’t just allow users to largely ditch their toilet paper. They also eliminate the plastic wrapping and the fossil fuels used in transporting toilet paper, and bidets can take a bite out of your carbon footprint over the course of a lifetime.
They even use less water in the cleansing process than would be used, comparatively speaking, in the production of toilet paper.
The Crisis Mindset
Everyone has a pandemic story about shopping – whether they stocked up on countless items they wouldn’t normally buy or couldn’t find things they desperately needed – and we can’t deny that bidets owe a debt of gratitude to this bizarre panic shopping. After all, toilet paper was one of the hardest items to find during the pandemic, but bidets offered a toilet paper-free way of life. Worried about their ability to source this basic item, people with the willingness to experiment took the plunge and ordered bidets – and the word spread like wildfire from there.
Beyond The Taboo
A number of other products, for example, the widely advertised Squatty Potty, made way for the dominance of the bidet today. After all, if the general desire to avoid talking about toileting activities, as well as issues like contraception and menstruation, which were also associated with the bidet, was a leading reason for its early failure on the US market, those issues are largely things of the past.
Today, you can advertise just about anything and, with the rise of targeted marketing, you don’t even have to work within the confines of TV advertising. Instead, bidet ads can be delivered to precisely those who might be interested in them.
In the United States, the bidet still may lack the widespread acceptance and normalcy that it benefits from in places like Japan or Turkey, but it’s certainly gaining traction. Over the next few years, it will likely become normal to visit friends and family and to find a bidet attachment in the bathroom, ushering in the post-toilet paper era.