The UK brassware and taps market saw signs of stabilisation in 2013, following a decline in 2012. The market improved in 2014 and gathered pace, particularly in 2015 and 2016, driven by more favourable conditions in the new housebuilding sector and demand emulating from the private commercial sector. 2017 also experienced sustained growth, although at a lesser pace than 2016.
Brassware and taps for the domestic and commercial sectors are distributed through a wide range of channels. The main distribution channel continues to be builders and plumbers’ merchants with the home improvement multiples also holding a substantial share. Other retail channels include kitchen and bathroom specialists, grocery and furniture multiples, direct supply and department stores.
Product development and improvement in the brassware and taps market have focused on quality and design with a trend towards higher value products and contemporary styles. As this market has reached maturity there are greater levels of replacement purchases leading to product upgrade and added value opportunities. Minimalist, contemporary brassware and taps continue to be popular in curvaceous, fluid shapes. More angular styles are also in demand, with soft edges to match interior decor. Traditional designs are still used and may be specified for period kitchens and bathrooms in older properties.
There are several key factors affecting the market prospects for the brassware and taps market in the UK. These include economic influences such as new housebuilding and construction activity, consumer and business confidence levels, and the cost of imports. Other influences include legislative changes, environmental influences, demographic changes and technological developments.