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The 4th edition of the Plumbers Merchants Market Report UK 2020-2024 has been published by AMA Research, covering plumbing & drainage (including bathroom products), heating, ventilation & air conditioning, kitchens & bathrooms. The report illustrates the diverse nature of this industry, recent performance and the development of competitive channels such as the Internet and DIY multiples.
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The 4th edition of the ‘Plumbers Merchants Market Report – UK 2020-2024 Analysis’ has been published by AMA Research, covering plumbing & drainage (including bathroom products), heating, ventilation & air conditioning, kitchens & bathrooms.
The report provides an informed and up-to-date review of this marketplace, with forecasts to 2024 considering major market influences such as Covid-19 and Brexit. It contains over 80 pages of industry analysis and illustrates the diverse nature of this industry, recent performance and the development of competitive channels such as the Internet and DIY multiples.
A E Spink Ltd, A W Lumb & Co Ltd, Alsford Timber Ltd, Beatsons Building Supplies , Beesley & Fildes Ltd, Bradfords, Building Supplies Ltd, Building & Plumbing Supplies, C & W Berry Ltd, CC Discount Heating,
Crossling Ltd, Darlaston Builders Merchants, Dougfield Plumbers Supplies, Elliott Brothers Limited, Grafton Merchanting, Harris & Bailey Ltd, Heating Plumbing Supplies, Huws Gray Ltd, James Hargreaves (Plumbers’ Merchants) Ltd, JT Atkinson & Sons Ltd, Kellaway Building Supplies Ltd, Lawsons Whetstone Ltd, MKM Building Supplies Ltd, New City Heating, Newcastle Plumbing & Heating Supplies, Nicholls & Clarke, Plumbase, Plumbcity Ltd, Plumbing and Heating Supplies, Plumbing For Less Ltd, Plumbstop, Plumbstore Ltd, RGB Building Supplies, Saint Gobain, Smith Brothers Stores Ltd, Stamco Building Supplies, Thompson & Leigh Plumbers’ merchants, Travis Perkins, Turnbull & Co, UK Plumbing Ltd, UK Plumbing Supplies, Walter Tipper Ltd, Ware Bathroom Centre, Williams Trade Supplies Ltd, Wolseley
Since construction output began to recover in 2013, the plumbing & heating sector has experienced steady growth, largely sustained by a strong housebuilding market. Though there was a slowing of growth in 2018 as trading conditions became more difficult in the face of economic uncertainties, 2019 saw growth of 4% in the merchants’ market despite a fall in construction output in the office and retail sectors.
The national merchants have experienced difficult trading conditions in recent years and have responded in part by restructuring and rebranding their businesses as well as streamlining their operations through branch closures. Apart from Grafton’s disposal of Plumbase, Wolseley’s specialist plumbing & heating brand, Plumb Center, has now been subsumed within the overall Wolseley brand.
By contrast, many of the larger regional merchants have seen significant revenue growth and regional merchants have gained share in the market. This market segment has also seen some merger and acquisition activity to consolidate regional merchants into larger groups.
There has been significant growth in online retailing, driven by competition from alternative suppliers and increased adoption of smartphones and tablets, leading to a shift in customers’ buying behaviour. Merchants have responded by increasingly offering transactional websites, with all of the national merchants and larger regional merchants now offering services such as click & collect. The shift to e-commerce and multi-channel offerings has helped ‘traditional’ merchants defend their market share against competition from internet-only distributors.
The internet is also increasingly being used for price comparison, with installers seeking the best deal possible. This is putting pressure on prices as well as creating a demand for greater price transparency, which is being reflected by some merchants with greater use of fixed pricing.
1. INTRODUCTION 8
1.1 INTRODUCTION 8
1.2 SOURCES OF INFORMATION 8
2. SUMMARY & MARKET PROSPECTS 10
2.1 SUMMARY 10
2.2 MARKET PROSPECTS 12
3. THE PLUMBERS’ MERCHANTS’ MARKET 14
3.1 DEFINITION 14
3.2 MARKET STRUCTURE 15
3.2.1 Lightside/Plumbing Product Distribution 20
3.3 MARKET SIZE, TRENDS & INFLUENCES 21
3.3.1 Market Size 21
3.3.2 Market Trends 22
3.3.3 Market Influences 23
3.4 MERCHANTS’ SHARE OF CONSTRUCTION OUTPUT 27
3.5 BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION MARKET INFLUENCES 28
3.5.1 Overall Construction Market 28
3.5.2 The Housing Market 31
4. THE PLUMBERS’ MERCHANTS 34
4.1 MARKET SHARE 36
4.2 MERCHANT COMPANIES 38
4.2.1 National Merchants 38
4.2.2 Large Regional Merchants 44
4.2.3 Medium and Small Size Regionals 49
4.2.4 Local Merchants 52
4.2.5 Buying Groups 54
4.4. CHARACTERISTICS OF PLUMBERS’ MERCHANTS 56
4.4.1 Product Range 56
4.4.2 Pricing and Prices 57
4.5 MERCHANTS’ MARKET – SWOT ANALYSIS 58
4.6 MERCHANTS’ COMPETITORS 61
4.7 MERCHANTS’ CUSTOMERS 62
4.7.1 Plumbing and Heating Contractors 63
4.7.2 Housebuilders/General Builders 65
4.7.3 Non-Residential Construction 67
4.7.4 Mechanical and Electrical Contractors 68
4.7.5 Local Authorities, Public Bodies including HA/RSL/ALMOS 69
4.7.6 Other Customers 70
5. PRODUCT REVIEW 71
5.1 PRODUCT MIX 71
5.2 MERCHANTS’ SHARES BY PRODUCT 71
5.3 PRODUCT TRENDS 72
5.3.1 Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning (HVAC) 72
5.3.2 Plumbing & Drainage Products 77
5.3.3 Bathroom Products 79
5.3.4 Kitchen Products 81
APPENDIX A: ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT 85
A.1 OVERVIEW AND OUTLOOK 85
A.2 GDP 85
A.3 INFLATION & INTEREST RATES 87
A.4 EMPLOYMENT & WAGES 88
A.5 HOUSEHOLD CONSUMPTION 89
A.6 STERLING 90
CHART 1: UK PLUMBERS’ MERCHANTS MARKET 2015 – 2024 BY VALUE (£M MERCHSP) 10
TABLE 2: PRODUCT CATEGORY DEFINITIONS 15
CHART 3: BUILDING PRODUCTS DISTRIBUTION STRUCTURE 16
TABLE 4: UK PLUMBERS’ MERCHANTS MARKET 2015 – 2024 BY VALUE (£M MERCHSP) 21
TABLE 5: LEADING UK IMPORTED CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS 2019 BY VALUE (£M) 24
TABLE 6: PLUMBERS’ MERCHANTS SHARE OF UK CONSTRUCTION OUTPUT (EXCLUDING INFRASTRUCTURE) 2015 TO 2024 (£BN) 27
CHART 7: UK CONSTRUCTION OUTPUT – KEY SECTORS, ANNUAL OUTPUT (CURRENT PRICES) 2015 – 2020 – INDEX 2015 = 100 28
CHART 8: HOUSEBUILDING STARTS & COMPLETIONS (ENGLAND, WALES, SCOTLAND) BY NUMBER OF DWELLINGS 2015 – 2024 31
TABLE 9: UK RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY TRANSACTIONS VALUED AT £40K OR ABOVE 2014 -2019 33
CHART 10: KEY PLUMBERS’ MERCHANTS’ MARKET SHARES 2020 36
TABLE 11: SHARE OF THE NATIONAL MERCHANTS VS REGIONAL/LOCAL MERCHANTS 2001-2020 (% BY VALUE) 37
TABLE 12: KEY INDICATORS– TRAVIS PERKINS (PLUMBING & HEATING DIVISION) 39
TABLE 13: KEY INDICATORS – WOLSELEY UK 41
TABLE 14: KEY INDICATORS – SAINT-GOBAIN BUILDING DISTRIBUTION 42
TABLE 15: KEY INDICATORS – GRAFTON MERCHANTING GB 43
TABLE 16: CHANGE OF PRICE INDICES OF SELECTED CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS, ANNUAL AVERAGES 2015-2019 (2010 = 100) 58
TABLE 17: PLUMBERS’ MERCHANTS’ MARKET – SWOT ANALYSIS 60
TABLE 18: PLUMBING, HEATING AND AIR CONDITIONING ENTERPRISES REGISTERED FOR VAT & PAYE EMPLOYERS BY TURNOVER BAND 2019 64
TABLE 19: UK ENTERPRISES INVOLVED IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF BUILDINGS REGISTERED FOR VAT & PAYE EMPLOYERS BY TURNOVER BAND SIZE 2019 66
TABLE 20: TOP 10 CONTRACTORS IN THE COMMERCIAL & RETAIL SECTOR (BY NUMBER & VALUE OF CONTRACTS AWARDED) 2019-2020* 67
CHART 21: PLUMBERS’ MERCHANTS PRODUCT MIX 2019 71
TABLE 22: PLUMBERS’ MERCHANTS’ SHARE OF PRODUCT MARKETS (£M MERCHSP) 2019 72
CHART 23: THE HVAC MARKET 2015 TO 2020 – BY VALUE (£M MERCHSP) 73
CHART 24: PRODUCT MIX HVAC – % BY VALUE 2020 76
TABLE 25: UK MARKET PLUMBING AND DRAINAGE MATERIALS £M MERCHANT SELLING PRICES, 2015 – 2020 77
CHART 26: PRODUCT MIX FOR THE PLUMBING & DRAINAGE MARKET – BY VALUE (£M MERCHSP) 2020 78
TABLE 27: BATHROOM PRODUCTS, MERCHANT SALES (£M MERCHSP) 2015 – 2020 79
CHART 28: PRODUCT MIX FOR BATHROOMS – BY VALUE (£ MILLION AT MERCHANTS SELLING PRICES) 2020 80
CHART 29: THE RESIDENTIAL KITCHEN PRODUCTS MARKET– BY VALUE (£M MERCHSP) 2015-2020 82
CHART 30: PRODUCT MIX KITCHEN FURNITURE AND APPLIANCES – % BY VALUE (£ MILLION AT MERCHANT SELLING PRICES) 2020 83
CHART A1: GVA CHAINED VOLUME MEASURES KEY CONSTITUENT ELEMENTS 2015-2020 – % CHANGE 87
CHART A2: CPI INFLATION AND BANK OF ENGLAND BASE RATE 2008-2023 – % 88
CHART A3: AVERAGE WEEKLY EARNINGS DATA (GB) TOTAL PAY 2014-2019 – £ STERLING (SEASONALLY ADJUSTED) 89
CHART A4: DISPOSABLE INCOME PER CAPITA AND THE SAVINGS RATIO AT CURRENT PRICES 2008-2023 90
CHART A5: EXCHANGE RATE FLUCTUATIONS STERLING TO THE DOLLAR AND THE EURO 2015-2019 – SPOT RATES 91
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