There can be substantial variations in estimates of market size and product mix for European builders’ merchants’ markets by country due to variations in definitions of builders’ merchants, including varying roles of specialists within each market, as well as a strong overlap with retail channels in some markets.
The overall builders’ merchants’ market has improved consistently since 2014, supported by the growth in housebuilding and general economic stability, and the builders’ merchants’ market across the 12 countries covered in the report (which exclude the UK) is estimated be worth over â‚¬100 billion. There has been significant activity among buying groups with expansion and mergers within national boundaries, as well as pan-European links being developed. These developments among buying groups are to be expected in markets where large multi-nationals are operating alongside a large number of independents.
The market has benefitted from increasing legislation and automation resulting in the need to get a professional to do work some people may have previously done themselves, with these tradesmen sourcing products from trade routes. Other positive influences have been the increased standard of living generally, growing urbanisation and an ageing population requiring more assistance and higher value ‘assisted living’ products.
2018 is expected to show a continuation of the more moderate growth seen in 2017, with most countries entering a more stable period of expansion. Government spending levels are still under pressure to keep within EU guidelines and, inevitably, public sector construction works are a target for budget cuts and this continues to feed through into the builders’ merchants’ markets in some countries.