The UK industrial consumable products market is estimated to be worth £1.8 billion in 2014, according to a new report published by AMA Research. This is a mature and highly fragmented market that, has experienced relatively stable conditions in recent years – after the 2009/10 downturn.
The sector has an extremely fragmented customer base with
key end-user sectors including manufacturing, engineering, infrastructure,
transport, construction, public authorities and utilities.
Product categories included within the report’s
definition of general industrial products
are: health & safety; fluid & air control; power tools; engineering
& metalworking; hand tools; workshop & maintenance; SSASH (storage,
security, access, site equipment & handling); fasteners; janitorial and
abrasives. The overall market for consumables is much larger than indicated
above, as AMA’s report excludes specialists and focuses on distributors
offering a wide range of products.
Key external factors impacting the market include the
state of the economy and the relative performance of key customer sectors. Also
impacting on the market are general levels of maintenance & repair,
legislation, costs of fuel, energy and raw materials, as well as currency
fluctuations impacting on product costs.
Distribution of industrial consumables is also
fragmented, with some distributors operating in all product sectors defined within
this report and others focusing on a more limited number of product sectors.
There is a continued trend towards ‘one-stop sourcing’, which is particularly
applicable to commodity type products, and many distributors are expanding
their product offering to provide an overall package. This trend has
undoubtedly been helped by the gradual switch to online sourcing which allows company
websites to display more products than shown in catalogues.
Product ranges are generally offered both in catalogues
and online, with most leading companies also operating a branch network. Some
of the larger distributors are continuing to increase their branch numbers and
UK coverage, though the underlying trend is moving towards online. Some
distributors have moved their focus to the internet and no longer publish
catalogues, while a growing number of companies are offering a digital format
The market continues to benefit from an increased focus
on health & safety, energy efficiency and environmental issues, which have
largely been legislation-driven. Value added services are also important in
this market, with demand for systems such as Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI)
increasing, which tends to benefit the industrial distributors in particular.
Future market performance is closely linked to the
overall state of the economy and general conditions in sectors such as
manufacturing, engineering, transportation, utilities, public sector and
construction. Overall, future prospects appear more optimistic than in recent
years, reflecting growing confidence in the recovery of the UK economy and that
it will be sustained in the medium term, though growth rates are expected to
vary, reflecting the performance of key end-use sectors. Forecasts are for
further steady growth to 2018 leading to an estimated market size of around £2
performance of individual distributors will primarily depend on their product
and customer profile, together with regional strengths, pricing and
stockholding strategy” said Andrew Hartley, Director of AMA Research. “Also, value added services provide
opportunities for the distributors and those offering services such as VMI are
likely to benefit from customers requiring added-value support.”
Industrial Products Distribution Market Report – UK 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.