The rise of bidet toilets in luxury bathrooms worldwide is a trend that cannot be ignored. Originating in Japan, these high-tech toilets are now becoming a must-have for many households, spurred on by a record influx of tourists to the country. With their warm seats and precision spray technology, bidet toilets have become the norm in Japan, with more than 80 percent of homes equipped with one. Sales are now surging abroad, especially in the United States, driven by A-list bidet fans such as Drake, the Kardashians, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Japanese company TOTO has been at the forefront of this bidet revolution, pioneering electric bidets that have transformed the way people think about toilet hygiene. TOTO claims that its bidets have sparked “a global revolution from wiping to washing,” and its overseas revenue for toilets has doubled in recent years. The COVID-19 pandemic played a significant role in boosting sales, as germ-conscious consumers sought alternatives to toilet paper amidst panic-buying and home renovation booms.

Rivalry and Innovation

While TOTO has been a dominant player in the bidet market, US competitors are now challenging its throne with innovative products like Kohler’s Numi 2.0. With features like automatic deodorizers, motion-activated lids, and voice commands through Amazon Alexa, the Numi 2.0 is positioning itself as the “smartest toilet that exists.” Despite the high price point of around $8,500 to $10,000, Americans are increasingly inspired to upgrade their toilets after experiencing Japanese bidets during their travels.

Hurdles and Evolution

Initially met with resistance and prudishness when trying to expand abroad, TOTO had to overcome cultural barriers to establish itself in the international market. However, in today’s share-all internet era, bidets have become more mainstream and even trendy, with influencers and celebrities openly endorsing the benefits of these high-tech toilets. From TikTok stars to US congresswomen, bidets are no longer a taboo topic but rather a symbol of sophistication and modernity.

A Rich History

The journey of bidets from hospitals in Japan to luxury bathrooms worldwide is a testament to TOTO’s legacy as a company. Founded in 1917 by a father and son duo aiming to introduce Western-style toilets to Japan, TOTO faced initial challenges due to the country’s undeveloped sewer systems and traditional squat-style toilets. However, after decades of perseverance and innovation, TOTO’s Washlet bidets have become a household name with over 60 million units sold worldwide.

As the bidet craze continues to grow, more people are recognizing the benefits of these high-tech toilets for personal hygiene. While some may still feel hesitant about trying a bidet, the trend is undeniable, and many are predicted to be converted over time. As bidets become more accessible and integrated into modern bathrooms, they may soon become a standard fixture for households worldwide, revolutionizing the way we think about personal hygiene.


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