Friday, February 17, 2017

Mixed performance in the UK building and home improvement product distribution market

The UK building and home improvement products distribution market is a large, mature market and as such tends to experience modest year on year change. In both 2015 and 2016, the market has performed well displaying growth rates of 4% per annum. This was driven by value increases and a modest improvement in confidence, though while house building showed modest improvement, public sector funding cuts continued to impact large scale construction projects and the Brexit vote undermined any significant new investment in construction programmes.
In general, market growth has been healthy since 2014, when the market value increased by 7%. This was due to a strong housing market with new housebuilding up 31% in terms of completions and some product sectors showing high levels of growth, such as solar energy technology which was boosted by an announcement that Feed In Tariffs were declining significantly, prompting sales/commitments before this occurred.
The market is relatively evenly split between heavyside and lightside products. Leading product sectors include timber & glazing, bricks, blocks, building envelope & concrete (BBBEC) and heating & plumbing.
The distribution market is complex, with a small number of large organisations competing with many regional and local organisations. The leading group of players now consists of 4 builders and plumbers merchants and 3 home improvement multiples.
Other suppliers who have become important within the market include Screwfix and Toolstation. Internet distribution has grown in recent years, especially in those channels where the products are more disposed to consumer preference and choice, are more physically compact and can more easily be delivered, such as plumbing and certain garden products. Nevertheless pure Internet distributors retain a relatively modest share in most sectors.
The changing socio-demographic structures are stimulating a shift away from DIY, with the younger generation unable to leave home or renting until they are in their thirties, resulting in less motivation to undertake DIY, and at the other end of the scale, the older generation use tradesmen to do their DIY. In addition, the growth of flats and apartments as well as smaller houses, will stimulate a shift away from DIY as there is simply less room to make improvements and changes.
The future prospects of the building and home improvement products distribution market are extremely difficult to forecast as the future development of the market is highly dependent on the levels of business investment and confidence in the wake of the EU referendum vote and the nature of negotiations with the EU over the next two years.
Over the next two years the construction industry is expected to show very modest growth of 1-2% overall reflecting a mix of performances across the sectors, with the infrastructure sector and the health sector expected to perform reasonably well, while offices and retail perform less well. AMA Research forecasts value growth of 2-3% per annum for the building and home improvement products distribution market, reflecting expected price increases in a number of product sectors and improving confidence in the medium term.
Keith Taylor, Director of AMA Research, said: “While housebuilding levels have improved, it seems likely that this growth will not continue over the next two to three years as the market adjusts to the EU vote and exit process, and is therefore likely to remain more stable. Market growth will be impacted by the weakening of the pound following the EU referendum, making imports more expensive, a particular issue in areas such as electrical accessories and baths and sanitaryware, where imports take a significant share of the market.”

The ‘Building and Home Improvement Products Distribution Market Report – UK 2017-2021 Analysis’ report is published by AMA Research, a leading provider of market research and consultancy services with over 25 years’ experience in the construction and home improvement markets.  The report is available now and can be ordered online at or by calling 01242 235724.

Buoyant private housing sector drives growth in High-Rise Buildings

Driven by a growing population and intensifying urbanisation, the construction of high-rise buildings has increased considerably in recent years – more high-rise buildings are now being constructed than at any other time. Across the UK as a whole, there are currently over 270 existing high-rise buildings and structures, of which around 70% are in London. The UK has just 17 high-rise buildings over 150m (492ft.) in height and just one building – The Shard in London - over 300m.
Definitions of high-rise buildings vary, but in this report AMA Research looks at UK regional and London developments of 15-20 storeys and above. Unlike other international cities, London is considered ‘low-rise’ for a global city and financial capital of the world; with the pace of high-rise development way behind other global cities. However, in recent years, there has been an increase in the number of high-rise buildings proposed and approved for construction in the UK. The UK development pipeline currently stands at around 500 buildings, of which over 85% are planned in London, while the rest are clustered in key cities such as Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Salford. 
In terms of end-use sector, around 70% of high-rise buildings currently under construction or under consideration across the UK are primarily residential, but with an element of mixed-use, e.g. retail, community or leisure.
In London, the high-rise market is being driven by the buoyant private housing sector, especially at the top-end of the market, and resurgence in demand for commercial property. The concept of high-rise living has changed and the majority of high-rise residential tower blocks in UK cities are now being developed as luxury accommodation, targeting a very different demographic and being developed with a mixed-use element incorporating leisure facilities, concierge services, restaurants and retail.
Key factors affecting the development of high-rise buildings include cost, space efficiency, wind & seismic considerations, structural safety, risk challenges both on site and in completed buildings, speed of elevators, new building materials to potentially replace steel and concrete and damping systems. In addition, significant technical and logistical factors include pumping and placing concrete at extreme heights, and craning and lifting items to extreme heights.
“Going forward, the high-rise construction market is set to continue to grow, with the ever-increasing demand for housing” said Hayley Thornley, Research Manager at AMA Research. “However, there are concerns about too many projects aimed at the luxury end of the market, which is not matched with housing demand. In addition, the uncertainties surrounding the EU referendum may influence some high-rise schemes, with many projects in the pipeline forecast to exceed stated completion dates.
The proportion of mixed-use schemes in the high-rise buildings pipeline is set to grow, with around 18% of developments either under construction or proposed with a mixed-use function. In the office market, rising take-up, low availability of grade-A space and increasing rents in cities such as Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham, Leeds and Edinburgh, is helping to boost output in the commercial office sector and has led to more speculative building.
Sustained growth in the private rented sector (PRS) is also driving the development of high-rise housing, with increasing financial backing from both domestic and foreign institutional investors. Student accommodation also forms a small, but significant proportion of high-rise building development with a number of schemes currently in planning.

The ‘Construction in the High-Rise Buildings Market Report – UK 2016-2020 Analysis’ report is published by AMA Research, a leading provider of market research and consultancy services within the construction and home improvement markets. The report is available now and can be ordered online at or by calling 01242 235724.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Passive Fire Protection - UK 2016-2020 - Key Facts

  • The market for passive fire protection products is expected to see value growth of 8% by 2020.
  • New build growth in the offices and industrial sectors has supported demand across a number of product areas including structural fire resistance, glass, partitions, doors etc.
  • Fire resistant doors, fitting and seals are the largest sector of the market, accounting for around 60% of total market value.
  • Trade sources suggest that intumescent coatings are used in up to 70% of new steel construction.
  • New construction activity remains a key driver for passive fire protection products, and forecasts for 2015 indicate that non-domestic new work will increase by 4%.

These facts have been extracted from AMA Research's report 'Passive Fire Protection Market Report - UK 2016-2020 Analysis', available from or by calling 01242 235724

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Residential Doors - UK 2016-2020 - Key Facts

  • The UK residential door market is worth around £750 million.
  • Internal doors are the largest sector, but external entrance doors account for around 30% of the market. 
  • Private sector new build accounts for around 25% of the market, but home improvement applications are the largest share.
  • Composites are taking share in the entrance door market and now account for over 30% of sales.
  • Aluminium retains a good share of the sliding/bifold door market.
These facts have been extracted from AMA Research's report 'Residential Doors Market Report - UK 2016-2020 Analysis', available from or by calling 01242 235724

Monday, February 13, 2017

Underfloor Heating Market - UK 2016-2020 - Key Facts

  • Product development and uptake of intelligent technology in the UFH sector has increased, maximising the individual control of systems and improving efficiency.
  • The domestic sector is currently a key driver of market growth and accounts for around 60% of the market.
  • There has been an increase in the number of value or budget packs available - both for electric and water UFH.
  • Distribution continues to be dominated by direct supply, with some manufacturers and other specialists offering a 'supply and fit' service.
  • The top 5 suppliers have a combined share of around 60% of the market.

These facts have been extracted from AMA Research's report 'Underfloor Heating Market Report - UK 2016-2020 Analysis', available from or by calling 01242 235724

LED Lighting Market - UK 2016-2020 - Key Facts

  • The 5 main suppliers: Philips, Zumtobel, Osram, GE / Current and Feilo Sylvania, are estimated to account for around 75% of the market.
  • Direct sales have a leading role in LED lighting distribution led by large scale, private and public sector projects, accounting for over a third of the market.
  • Industrial lighting is dominated by high intensity discharge (HID) lighting with LED accounting for only 5% of this sector currently.
  • Non-domestic end users dominate the LED market in 2015, accounting for 92% of market value.
  • Infrastructure is a significant sector with many LED street and road light investment schemes underway and is estimated to account for 22% of the market.

These facts have been extracted from AMA Research's report 'LED Lighting Market Report - UK 2016-2020 Analysis', available from or by calling 01242 235724

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

New website coming very soon

We are very pleased to announce that we are about to launch a brand new website in the next few days!
The new site has full e-commerce functionality and will hopefully make it a lot easier for our customers to search and browse reports, as well as order online. 
New features include report search,  the ability to view and purchase subscription bundles, and a ‘Download PDF’ function which will enable you to download a PDF copy of the page at the click of a button, something which may be useful in decision making or when sharing the information with colleagues. We have also included an FAQ section, where you can find answers to the most commonly asked questions, which range from ordering and delivery to content and methodology for our reports.
We hope you will find the new online ordering system useful. It uses a shopping basket functionality so you will be able to add multiple reports to the basket to take to the checkout, rather than having to complete the same order form multiple times. You will still be given a choice of whether to pay against an invoice or by credit card. Invoices will be issued by the system, and equally, when paying by card, the invoice and receipt will be issued automatically within minutes of the order.
The pricing should also be clearer, as you will be able to view and approve the final amount (including/excluding VAT and any discount) prior to completing the checkout process.
If you are an existing customer, you will also be able to continue to use the site to reach the login page for AMA Research Interactive - just use the red button at the top right of the page that reads 'login to customer portal'.
As this is much more than just a ‘look and feel’ update, there may be teething problems in the first few weeks, though we are not expecting any downtime at this stage. In the meantime, if you do experience any problems or have any questions, please get in touch by email on or phone on 01242 235724. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Private Residential Rental Market - UK 2016-2020 - Key Facts

  • There has been sustained growth in the private rented sector (PRS) over the last decade, nearly doubling since 2002 to reach around 19% of all households.
  • The level of mortgaged home-ownership in London has fallen from 39% in 2004 to 27% in 2014.
  • Within the residential sector, PRS stock is expected to reach a value of around £1.07 trillion in 2016.
  • The PRS development pipeline is still relatively immature with around 37,450 units in progress, however this figure is expected to rise as growth continues.
  • Currently around 18% of Birmingham's population is in the PRS, but compared with the rest of England, the city has a relatively young age structure reflecting a large student population.

These facts have been extracted from AMA Research's report 'Private Residential Rental Market Report - UK 2016-2020 Analysis', available from or by calling 01242 235724

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Modest growth in the UK conservatory and glazed extensions market

The conservatory and glazed extensions market was estimated have increased by around 3% in 2016. A combination of a continued recovery in the economy in general - and the housing market in particular – have helped underpin rising consumer confidence and spending on higher value home improvements in recent years – particularly with interest rates so low. RMI has become increasingly important within the market as homeowners replace or upgrade older style conservatories and glazed extensions with higher efficiency roofs and windows/doors, and other higher specification products.
Until recently, the UK conservatory market had been in decline for some years, with the aspirational appeal of the traditional conservatory waning in the latter half of the 2000s - a situation which was further exacerbated by the financial crisis. Recent years have seen some recovery in the market, however, while value growth has been relatively good in recent years, volume growth is less buoyant with only 1-2% increases over the last 2 years, and only modest volume increases currently forecast to 2020.
In 2016, the market is quite sophisticated in terms of product range and offers more options for an individualised project. Consumers installing modern conservatories in their home now expect them to be used as living spaces throughout the year rather than only during warmer weather as was previously the case. Key product features which have become more important in the conservatory market include improved thermal efficiency, high specification self-cleaning glass, coloured frames, bifold opening doors, etc. Substantial product development is ongoing in this market with companies offering wider, higher specification and technology products and conservatory ranges for an increasing demanding customer base as homeowners look for a more bespoke service.
We estimate that prices have been rising year on year over the past few years, despite volume fluctuations, primarily reflecting an overall increase in specification levels. For installers, there remains a significant squeeze on margins, particularly in the budget sector, but some installers have addressed this issue by diversifying and offering a wider range of products than traditional conservatory/window companies, with examples including solar panels, alarm systems or driveways, among other products.
In terms of frame materials, PVCu continues to dominate, but timber also retains a significant share based on its attraction for many homeowners due to its natural appearance and sustainability credentials. Aluminium remains a more expensive option, though it has retained a niche share in the domestic market – though aluminium bifold doors, particularly, have gained widespread consumer acceptance.
In general, the main channels of distribution are replacement window companies, garden centres, DIY outlets, conservatory specialists, builders and online. In the self-build conservatory sector, the focus has switched from DIY outlets to online conservatory specialists, who offer a wider range of product options than those offered by DIY outlets.
“Market improvement in 2017 and beyond is likely to be driven by levels of house moving/home extension building, consumer confidence and growth in the retrofit/upgrade market – particularly if interest rates remain at historically low levels” said Jane Tarver of AMA Research. “However, the future economic landscape is tempered by the uncertainty surrounding the commencement and potential effects of Brexit.”
However, substantial increases in volumes or value are not forecast in new conservatory demand in the short–medium term. Current forecasts indicate modest growth in overall value of sales, but this is likely to be underpinned by the continuing interest in upgrading or replacing older conservatories with higher specification products. In addition, we estimate that annual volumes are likely to remain below 100,000 in the short-medium term. Ultimately, conservatories/extensions are a ‘deferrable purchase’ and sales volumes are heavily dependent on economic conditions, making future demand year on year is difficult to forecast in the current climate.

The ‘Domestic Conservatory and Glazed Extensions Market Report – UK 2016-2020 Analysis’ report is published by AMA Research, a leading provider of market research and consultancy services with over 25 years’ experience in the construction and home improvement markets.  The report is available now and can be ordered online at or by calling 01242 235724.

Domestic Kitchen and Bathroom Worktops - UK 2016-2020 - Key Facts

  • The value of the total kitchen worktop market has grown by 16% in the last 4 years.
  • Worktops account for around 14% of the total kitchen furniture and worktops market.
  • The bathroom worktop market has shown growth, although it remains a small sector of the overall worktop market - at around 6-7%.
  • Natural and engineered stone account for some 21% of the kitchen worktop market in value terms.
  • Around 27% of kitchen worktop sales by value in the UK are through the Retail Kitchen Specialists for 2015, a reduction from previous years.

These facts have been extracted from AMA Research's report 'Domestic Kitchen and Bathroom Worktops Market Report - UK 2016-2020 Analysis', available from or by calling 01242 235724