Determining factors for the evolution of the product
Americans are getting much heavier, with the average person weighing 25 pounds more today than in the 1960s. That doesn't just affect people's clothes and lifestyles; it affects their furnishings and fixtures, too, and is a driving factor in the growing market for replacement toilet seats.
Another market for replacement seats is rental apartments. When the previous tenant moves out, some property managers replace the toilet seat and leave the box for the new replacement in the bathroom during tours so future tenants can see that they'll have brand-new seats. It’s the “minimum viable repair,” the lowest-cost way to seemingly replace an old product with something brand-new. It’s an extension of how cleaning crews will often leave toilet paper folded so users know it’s been cleaned.
Toilet replacement seat categories
There are two mostly separate bathroom supply chains, one for in-home bathrooms and one for shared facilities. Public and private restrooms use different designs, with sinks typically lower to avoid splashing and toilets often open in the front because they’re cheaper and more sanitary.
Public bathrooms give consumers a chance to experience fixtures they'd consider for home use, such as slow-close toilet seats (especially useful for shared living quarters, since no one wants to accidentally announce the end of their bathroom use with a bang). In this way, toilets are part of a category of products where new feature discovery is often owed to the shared nature of the product. Consumers don’t typically share things like toothbrushes, for example, so discovery of new toothbrush features is sometimes comparatively slower.