The rate of growth has been slower in 2018; inflation has continued to outstrip wage increases and uncertainty has clouded the UK economic environment, with the ongoing Brexit negotiations proving to be very challenging.
This uncertainty has impacted consumer confidence and expenditure on ‘big ticket’ items such kitchen and bathroom refurbishments. However, the new housing sector has remained moderately positive supported by Government initiatives such as Help to Buy.
The role of the distributor is challenging, with a need for players to differentiate their products and services and add value. As well as efficiencies of scale, stock holding and additional services, the key to the distributors’ continued survival is to increase awareness of the market they operate in.
Distributors are ideally situated to understand the market and anticipate changes and new trends, helping them to match suppliers and manufacturers’ products to market demands.
The growing level of kitchen and bathroom products distributed directly from manufacturer/importer to merchant, retailer (particularly Internet specialists) or contractor continues to negatively influence the distributor channel.
The prospects for the kitchen and bathroom distributors market are for modest growth, driven by demand in the new housing sector and essential replacement purchases. The economic uncertainty is impacting consumer confidence, particularly the purchase of high ticket items such as kitchens and bathrooms, which will dampen the growth prospects in the short term.