MENOMONEE FALLS, Wis. — Half of U.S. consumers are willing to spend more money at retail businesses that have clean, well-maintained restrooms, according to the Healthy Hand Washing Survey, conducted by Bradley Corp., a manufacturer of commercial plumbing fixtures and restroom accessories. The number of consumers who said they will “definitely” or “probably” spend more money at these stores has increased 7% over the past year, according to the study.
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“The state of a restroom can have a measurable effect on the health of a business,” said Jon Dommisse, director of strategy and corporate development for Bradley. “A large majority of Americans say they expect a high-quality business to have a high-quality restroom, so when a customer encounters a messy restroom, their perception of that business and its products and services are tarnished.”
Menomonee Falls, Wis.-basedBradley surveyed more than 1,200 U.S. men and women Jan. 3-9 about their hand-washing habits in public restrooms and concerns about germs, colds and the flu. Participants were from around the country and at least 18 years old.
Here are four insights from the study …
Restrooms don’t discriminate
Sixty-four percent of consumers choose a business because it has clean restrooms, and this is apparent among both women (67%) and men (61%), the study said. Moreover, 33% of consumers said they’d pay to use a restroom if they were assured it was clean and well-stocked.
“Well-maintained restrooms attract customers who reward those businesses with increased spending,” Dommisse said. “It simply makes good business sense to keep restrooms clean and modern-looking so customers come back.”
Bad experiences lead to fewer customers
More than half (55%) of consumers are unlikely to return to a business after a bad restroom experience, and nearly 70% have had an unpleasant retail restroom experience, the study said. The most common of these experiences includes toilets that are clogged or not flushed (85%), empty or jammed toilet paper dispensers (83%) and partition doors that don’t latch (78%).
“Based on these pain points, it makes sense that Americans’ top requests for improvements are keeping restrooms cleaner and better stocked,” Dommisse said.
Public restrooms are essential to daily life
Eighty-percent of consumers regularly use public restrooms, according to the study. Also, nearly 60% of consumers said they use public restrooms anywhere from one to five times per week, and 21% of those consumers do so six or more times a week.
“As odd as it may sound, for many of us, public restrooms are an important part of our everyday lives,” Dommisse said.
Reasons for using restrooms
Consumers use public restrooms for reasons beyond the toilet and washing their hands. Nearly half do so to check their appearance; 40% do so to blow their nose or cough; 25% use them to check their cellphones; and 27% even use restrooms as a place to cry, hide or take a mental health break, according to the study.