Thursday, April 30, 2015

Positive outlook for the UK Flat Roofing market

The market for flat roofing has shown some slight improvement over the last two years, having grown by around 3.5% to reach around 28m m2 in 2014, in terms of area of waterproofing membranes fitted. Some flat roofing products - e.g. PVC single ply membranes and liquid roofing systems - have fared better than others, due to factors such as greater ease and speed of installation, lower cost and wider ranges of colour finishes available to specifiers.
Since 2012, key areas of growth in demand have included commercial offices, schools, leisure facilities, warehouses and infrastructure buildings. However, maintenance and repair work is also a key area of activity. Basic repair work by jobbing builders, using traditional bitumen felts, as opposed to higher performing reinforced bitumen membranes (RBMs) is a significant factor in the market and will have helped to sustain the market in recent years.
Waterproofing membranes are the most extensively used product on flat roofing works as they are used on all applications from basic repairs to complete new installations. Bitumen products have the largest share although these range from basic, single layer felts used on garage roofs to higher performance, triple layered reinforced bitumen membranes (RBMs) used on large newbuild developments.
The supply of waterproofing membranes is concentrated among relatively few suppliers, which are also key suppliers of vapour control layers, and the supply of insulation products is also limited to a relatively small number of UK manufacturers. While there is significant production of bitumen membranes and felts in the UK, import levels are significant, in particular within the single membrane and liquid waterproofing sectors.
Distribution is largely split between the specialist roofing merchants and general builders’ merchants, typically supplying smaller contractors and general builders, and also direct sales to contractors working on large projects. The contracting sector is polarised between a large number of very small, local firms and a relatively small number of national and large regional businesses.
Over the medium term, to 2019, it forecast that demand will increase owing to growth in the development of key new build markets, notably industrial buildings and commercial offices, internet warehousing, free schools & city academies, university buildings and leisure facilities.
In the industrial sector, it is anticipated that there will be a surge in growth in advanced manufacturing and R&D, with universities and property developers pushing forward with developments in Enterprise Zones, where there is a focus on building factories and research facilities.
“Contractors output in the education sector is also expected to grow, mainly due to greater capital commitments among universities and Free schools and also Academies” said Keith Taylor, Director of AMA Research. “Budget reductions in public sector capital programmes will impact on the market, however, with the public sector schools and healthcare sub-sectors mainly affected”.

The ‘Flat Roofing Market Report – UK 2015-2019 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.

E-commerce growth presents opportunities for electrical wholesalers

In 2014, the electrical wholesale market was estimated to have grown by 4% compared with 2013. In 2011 and 2012, the market was supported by price rises driven by high raw material costs, development of high value technologies such as LED lighting and expansion into the renewables sector. This positive trend has continued through to 2014, though at a significantly slower pace.
Overall factors supporting the market include growth in specialist markets, product development, demand for additional services and non-core products, and evolving legislation leading to a requirement for higher specification and new types of products, in addition to an improving economic and construction background. Factors negatively affecting market growth include wide ranging government spending cuts, continued low levels of construction, increased price competition, a growing threat from competitive channels and longer product life-spans reducing the replacement market. 
The market is dominated by three large companies which together account for around two thirds of the electrical wholesale market. Electrical wholesalers remain market leaders in the distribution of electrical products and are particularly strong in core product areas such as electrical accessories and lighting equipment. Direct sales and specialist distributor channels are the most significant competitors to the electrical wholesalers with electronic component distributors, trade catalogues operations, internet retailers and merchants also significant.
Electrical wholesalers continue to widen product portfolios, introduce additional value-added services and embrace e-commerce to become more flexible and remain competitive in the difficult trading climate. Cables and lighting remain the largest product sectors within the electrical wholesale market and product sectors experiencing relatively good performance in the current market include electrical accessories such as cable systems, circuit protection and wiring accessories as well as lighting and renewable products.
Changing legislation is likely to continue to motivate a move towards higher specification products, particularly in heating, ventilation and lighting control where many end users are seeking to control operating costs more closely through improved technology. It will also lead to product development to meet new and improved standards, allowing both manufacturers and wholesalers to add value.
“As contractors’ usage of internet channels to source products increases and wholesalers move into more specialist markets, wholesalers may find a reliance on a wide branch network becoming less important and favour central stocking and distribution centres” said Keith Taylor, Director of AMA Research. “A growing use of e-commerce will provide opportunities for wholesalers to sell niche products more efficiently.”
The electrical wholesale market is expected to continue to grow in 2015, although at a modest rate, with current forecasts for construction output and for the economy in general suggesting that the private sector will see slow recovery. From 2016 onwards, the market increases at average growth levels of 2-3% per annum and is expected to reach a value of just over £4bn by the end of the forecast period.
The ‘Electrical Wholesale Market Report – UK 2015-2019 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.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Transport sector drives UK Mechanical Fasteners market growth

The market for mechanical fasteners in construction applications has grown by an estimated 5% during 2014, higher than in previous years. Underpinning growth has been improvements in housebuilding and other construction output and also some increases in the global prices for commodities such as steel.
However, the construction market for mechanical fasteners is mature with the result that annual growth rates are typically quite low and in addition, the vast majority of standard products used on building and RMI works are made up of low-cost imports.
Mechanical fasteners are broadly split between threaded products (screws, nuts and bolts) and non-threaded, e.g. nails, tacks and staples. In the UK it is estimated that by value, construction accounts for some 15 -18% of mechanical fastener demand, though estimates may vary depending on the definition.
Specific areas of growth in demand for mechanical fasteners have been infrastructure works, especially tunnels and bridges /gantries and in particular the Thameslink and Crossrail programmes, external wall insulation on social housing RMI projects, curtain wall and rainscreen cladding on medium-high rise office developments and steel building envelope systems on warehousing developments, driven by the growth in online retailing.
The overall supply chain structure is very complex with many different routes to market. The key channels are specialist fasteners wholesalers, merchants (general builders, plumbing, roofing etc.), interiors products distributors, DIY stores, multi-channel distributors and direct sales from fasteners manufacturers (or their sales subsidiaries) to fabricators and building systems manufacturers or suppliers e.g. drywall, cladding and flat roofing. Import penetration is extremely high in the UK at over 90%. Unbranded low cost, standard products are mostly imported from Asia and distributed by the specialist fastener wholesalers. The main channels for these are builders’ merchants, DIY stores, plumbers’ merchants etc.
“Market conditions for mechanical fasteners are expected to continue to improve in 2015 and with the continuation of the Crossrail project and the planned HS2 programme, demand for added-value high tensile fasteners should remain strong” said Keith Taylor, Director of AMA Research. “Other likely areas of demand growth include housebuilding, online distribution warehousing, utilities improvement programmes, medium-high rise office new build and the leisure sector“.
Recovery is, however, likely to be slow, limited by public sector spending cuts and dependent on growth in orders across the construction industry, and growth from 2016 onwards is likely to be more modest at 3-4% per annum to reach a value of around £190m by 2019.
Skills shortages among both trades and construction & engineering professions, cost pressure and the need for high volumes of new housing may well drive the need to increase the specification of offsite over traditional construction methods. This could lead to increased used of fasteners in offsite assembly processes as an alternative to traditional on-site ‘wet’ trades.

The ‘Mechanical Fasteners in Construction Market Report – UK 2015-2019 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.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Steady growth in the UK Space Heating market

The UK space heating market forms a key part of a total UK heating market worth around £2 billion. Since 2013 the market for domestic and non-domestic space heating products has steadily increased, with demand picking up as the economy improves. The space heating market is estimated to have grown by around 4% in 2014, with a similar growth rate predicted for 2015.
Positive influences on this market include the growing concerns about energy efficiency and the environment, and both domestic and non-domestic space heating products are increasingly designed to deliver improved thermal performance, with a view to achieving lower running costs. Further revisions to Part L 2013 have contributed to a reduction in the overall heating load in the new build sector, with increased energy efficiency requirements. This has impacted on the type of domestic space heating products that are specified, with more efficient solutions in greater demand.
This increased emphasis on reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions is also having a significant impact on the type of commercial space heating systems specified. Also, considerable replacement opportunities remain in existing non-domestic buildings; there is still a large number of inefficient heating systems in use. The government has introduced a significant amount of environmental legislation in recent years placing a greater emphasis on carbon emissions and fuel efficiency.
Winter temperatures also have a significant influence on demand for domestic space heating products, particularly on portable products. Since 2011, winter temperatures have remained relatively mild, impacting on demand to some extent. However demand for wood burning stoves has seen a significant positive growth and they have become a desirable addition to the home.
Electric and gas fuel effect fires continue to demonstrate underlying growth, motivated by ease of control and convenience. Flueless designs are particularly popular as they offer an affordable way to update a room. The steady growth of communal or district heating systems is having some positive impact on demand for commercial boilers. This is where heat is generated in one central location and distributed throughout a number of multi-residential buildings, typically flats and apartments.
The future performance of the UK space heating market is likely to be influenced by overall trends in house building and construction, RMI activity, fuel prices, energy efficiency legislation, renewable technologies, levels of personal disposable income, and niche market drivers such as the self-build and conservatory markets.
The Energy related Products (ErP) Directive for commercial hot water boilers will come into effect from 26th September 2015, and other initiatives such as the ECO scheme and the Green Deal will also influence growth to some extent. The Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) energy efficiency scheme, launched in 2013 will provide some positive influence on non-domestic heating installations. As part of the transition to a low carbon economy, there is a government initiative to install smart meters in all homes and businesses by 2020. The widespread roll-out is planned to start in 2015 and will impact on the demand for energy efficient space heating solutions.
“Given that fossil fuels are diminishing and government targets for reduced CO2 emissions have to be met, the impact of renewable technologies on the UK space heating industry in the medium to longer term is likely to be significant” said Keith Taylor, Director of AMA Research. “It is anticipated that the trend towards low carbon buildings will result in the adoption of a wider range of technologies in order to deliver efficient space heating. These are likely to use a combination of both fossil fuel and renewable heat sources.”           
The current forecast is based on steady recovery for the wider economy and for consumer and business confidence levels. By 2019 it is estimated that the UK space heating market will be worth some £630m, having grown by 12% compared to the estimated market size in 2015.

The ‘Space Heating Market Report – UK 2015-2019 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.

Annual growth of 4-5% expected in the UK Domestic Kitchen Furniture market

The UK domestic kitchen furniture market began to show growth in real terms in 2013 and 2014, with growth of 4% estimated in 2014. The kitchen furniture market is at the mature stage of its product lifecycle, with replacement sales accounting for almost 80% of sales.

Key issues that have influenced the UK domestic kitchen furniture market in recent years include the blurring of distinction between the kitchen and dining room, with less formality in the home and a move towards open plan living, an emphasis on aesthetics and stylish designs, with a move towards curved lines, rather than the traditional straight line concept and a trend for sleek, minimalist contemporary designs. An increasing number of manufacturers are offering units to suit the needs of elderly or infirm customers and this trend is likely to continue as the proportion of the UK population in older age groups increases.

The kitchen furniture market according to our definition comprises furniture, worktops and sinks, with furniture accounting for almost 80% of the market in value terms. Worktops had gradually gained market share before the recession affected the market, driven by the trend towards higher value products in this sector, particularly granite, quartz and other composites. However, in the last few years market conditions have squeezed consumer spending power, and similarly the sinks sector has been slower to recover from the recent downturn in the market.

Demand for design features in the kitchen seems to be recovering and this should increase the importance of both worktops and sinks, which can create high visual impact. The popularity of dishwashers has contributed towards changing the use of a sink from an area simply for washing up, to a multi-functional work centre, which incorporates features for washing, food preparation and drainage. However, the penetration of dishwashers in UK households remains relatively low at around 40%, particularly when compared with penetration levels in mainland Europe.

Technological developments in the tap sector, such as pull-out spray taps and water filtration systems, have also added value to the market, along with the growth in popularity of waste disposal units in the sinks sector, as increasing emphasis is placed on waste separation and recycling.

The kitchen furniture market is currently dominated by a relatively small number of larger UK based suppliers. Imports of kitchen furniture declined significantly from 2008 to reach £99m in 2011 and have remained at around that level since then. Imports currently account for around 9-10% of the kitchen furniture market (excluding worktops and sinks), with Germany and Italy being the major sources. The distribution structure has now settled down somewhat after the sharp fall in the share held by the multiple furnishing groups, due to the closure of MFI.

The total market for kitchen furniture is forecast to show relatively strong growth of around 4-5% per annum in the short to medium term future and is estimated to reach a level of £1.83bn by 2019. However, in the short term margins could be squeezed further by the increasing cost of raw materials such as chipboard, as well as metal components such as aluminium, steel and so on. The sale of kitchens with installation included is likely to continue to increase.

“The worktop sector is expected to achieve good growth in the medium term, primarily due to a gradual shift to higher quality materials” said Keith Taylor, Director of AMA Research. “However, prospects for the sinks market are only modestly positive, despite the development of higher value products in both the sink and tap sectors of the market.”

Higher levels of new build in both the private and public sectors are expected to support growth in the kitchen market in the future, however, the high proportion of flats and smaller houses may impact on the average value of kitchen furniture installed in this sector in the longer term. In the medium term, growth prospects will be largely influenced by the speed at which the housing market continues to recover.

The ‘Domestic Kitchen Furniture Market Report – UK 2015-2019 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.