Following the economic downturn in 2008 and 2009, the decorators’ merchants market saw a significant decline in value of 13% over the two years. In 2010 and 2011, value growth was largely driven by rising raw material, energy and production costs being passed on to customers. In addition, higher levels of domestic RMI also contributed to overall market growth. Rising production costs have continued to drive up average prices in 2012 with value growth estimated at 5%. There are few signs of a significant upturn in the UK economic climate at present, and modest growth is forecast for 2013, largely driven by increasing average prices.
There is considerable blurring of boundaries between retail and trade sales in that a growing number of contractors are purchasing from DIY outlets, and DIYers often purchase from trade centres. A significant decline in the housing market has had a negative effect on product sales since the move to a new home is often the trigger for significant home decoration. The declining housing market and falling disposable household incomes have led to reduction in trade sales as fewer homeowners employ painters and decorators.
Severe weather during the review period, including storms and heavy snow, has driven a need for exterior redecoration and refurbishment.
The cost of home improvement projects has been steadily rising exacerbated by rising fuel and energy costs and higher priced imports. A shortage of some of the raw materials needed to manufacture resins for paint production has also contributed to recent price increases, also affecting the production of printing ink for wallcoverings.
The decorators’ merchants’ market is highly fragmented with a small number of large organisations competing with many regional and local merchants. There is also competition in the trade sector from other channels such as the builders’ merchants and some hardware specialists.
There are few signs of a significant upturn in the UK economic climate at present, and modest value growth is forecast for 2013. Prices are continuing to increase, and raw material shortages do not appear to have been addressed, so this is likely to result in continued value growth within the market. However, it is not sustainable for prices to continue to rise at a rate in excess of 5% per annum, without impacting on volume demand. If this occurs, demand for paint products will undoubtedly fall, which is likely to drive a higher level of price competition.
The future performance of the market is driven by the performance of the UK building and construction sector, influenced by both new build and repair, maintenance & improvement activities. There is likely to be a shift towards smaller RMI activities in key public sectors as spending programmes are cut, which should provide opportunities for the dÃ©cor trade sector.
In the medium term, housebuilding levels will need to increase, as there is already a significant shortage of housing, and this should benefit the market for paint, woodcare and wallcoverings. In addition, many necessary re-decoration and refurbishment projects have been deferred due to the economic situation, and these will have to be undertaken at some point, whether the economy improves or not.
The merchants are expected to continue to build up their online activity, aimed at both trade and at retail customers. In addition, the merchants are expected to continue investing in areas of the business that improve the service and product offering to customers and increase customer loyalty.