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Hi-Tech Toilet Maker Sees US Growth After Covid ‘Paper Panic’

  • Pandemic helped drive jump in North America sales, Toto says
  • Japanese firm sees growth in Taiwan, Vietnam, Southeast Asia
Toto’s advertisement for Washlet.
Toto’s advertisement for Washlet.Source: Toto

Luxurious toilets complete with heated seats and cleansing jets of water are so common in Japan they’ve become almost synonymous with its culture. They’re now taking off in the US -- thanks in no small part due to pandemic-induced shortages of toilet paper. 

Japan’s largest toilet maker Toto Ltd., which introduced the Washlet in 1980 as a hi-tech version of the bidet, said sales of the device more than doubled in the first quarter of 2020 from a year earlier, and jumped 18% in the first quarter of 2022 from the prior year. The outlook for further growth is bright, despite the “toilet paper panic” being over, company executive Shinya Tamura said in an interview.