Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Electrical Contracting Market Returns to Growth

The electrical contractors market was estimated to be valued at around £18.2bn in 2013, having seen moderate levels of growth since 2011, according to a report published last month by AMA Research. Growth rates are forecast to improve from 2014 onwards, although the market will remain competitive with profit margins under continued pressure.

While electrical contracting is thought to have been less affected than some other areas within the construction industry during the recession, the electrical contractor market declined in 2009/10. In 2011, increasing raw material prices provided a boost to the market in terms of value. However, this was offset to a great extent by weak demand in the private sector and the government’s spending cuts taking effect, and the growth rate seen in 2011 could not be sustained, leading to a flat market performance in 2012.

Current estimates are more positive, and point to a return to growth from 2013 onwards. Business confidence has been higher during the year and there have been some positive signs that the economy could finally be recovering from the downturn.

Competition remains fierce among contractors, with reports of businesses continuing to submit tenders at, or below, cost price in order to secure work or retain clients. Profit margins, which were already under pressure, have declined further. Consolidation activity amongst suppliers continues to be high within the market. This has led to a number of major players increasing in size over the past few years. The growth in strategic acquisitions is also in response to the growing focus on integrated services within the sector, with contractors widening the range of services offered.

A key area of growth in recent years has been installations aimed at improving energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions, driven by increasingly stringent legislation and regulations around this, but also given impetus by the long-term cost savings that can be made by installing such systems, driven by increasing fuel costs.

Future prospects for the sector are moderately positive, with the electrical contracting market expected to show growth of around 3% per annum over the next few years. However, this depends largely on the performance of the non-domestic and domestic construction sectors. The housing sector is one of the key sectors likely to underpin growth within the electrical contracting market over the next few years, as demand for new housing is constantly increasing.

Keith Taylor, Director of AMA Research, said “Growth in the future is also likely to be motivated by legislation around carbon reduction, and renewable energy in particular. Solar panel installation currently represents a fast growing sub-sector of the electrical contracting market. A shift to LED lighting should have an impact on the market and data centres also remain a potential source of growth.”

Forecasts indicate that the market may reach £20.6bn by the end of 2018, providing the economic climate continues to improve.

The ‘Electrical Contractors Market Report - 2014-2018 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 www.amaresearch.co.uk or by calling 01242 235724.

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