Friday, May 20, 2016

UK underfloor heating market to grow by 15% to 2020 in value terms

After recovering well from the challenging economic conditions seen in recent years, the UK underfloor heating (UFH) market has continued to grow steadily, with growth of 9% in 2014 and a further 4% in 2015, and is now estimated to account for around 6.5% of the total UK heating market. There are two main types of underfloor heating; water-based (or hydronic) and electric systems. Some projects may involve a mix of both types of systems, often known as a hybrid solution. In terms of value, wet underfloor heating accounts for the largest share with electric UFH a relatively small market by value.
Whereas UFH products were once potentially seen as more specialist and a luxury investment within the domestic sector, these products have now become more mainstream and UFH currently represents one of the fastest growing areas within the UK heating market. Environmental concerns and rising energy bills have been partly responsible for driving demand, as well as wider acceptance of these more aspirational products. An array of product innovations has also made UFH systems easier to install, broadening their appeal for the retrofit market. This includes systems, both wet and electric, which can be laid over existing floors, thereby minimising disruption and speeding up installation. Low profile UFH options are now widely available, which reduce the impact on floor height, enabling greater flexibility.
The domestic UFH sector, including new build activity by housebuilders, the self-build market and RMI / DIY retrofit projects in residential homes, accounts for the largest share of the market by value, though the use of UFH also remains strong in the non-domestic sector. Whilst large-scale health and education projects have declined, there are still opportunities in the care home, industrial, warehousing, leisure and entertainment, office and retail sectors. The desire to reduce energy costs and to achieve greater energy efficiency is beneficial for the non-domestic UFH market, as systems can typically work at lower temperatures, providing radiant heat across a large surface area compared to more localised heat sources. 
There is a growing DIY sector for UFH, particularly in the self-build and retrofit markets, with many products now available for direct sale online. The sale of complete UFH packs as a ‘one stop solution’ has also fuelled growth, at the lower end of the market in particular. The continuing trend towards open-plan design favours use of UFH, since it is hidden beneath the floor, with no need for wall mounting, and this is a particular benefit in areas such as kitchens and bathrooms where space may be at a premium. Hard flooring also continues to grow in popularity, with greater use of stone and timber finishes as the preferred design choice, and systems are available for use under stone and ceramic tiles as well as other flooring materials.
“Following a period of consolidation amidst challenging economic conditions in recent years, the number of outlets distributing UFH is now increasing as the market grows” said Keith Taylor, Director of AMA Research. “However, many of these are value orientated and the traditional supply routes, such as direct supply and through merchants, are expected to maintain their share by value. There is likely to be some polarising of the marketplace between lower cost and more premium products.”
Prospects for continued growth in the UK underfloor heating market remain positive for 2016 and beyond, given optimism and recovery in the housing market, coupled with rising levels of consumer confidence and spending. Whilst the private non-residential sector is also showing signs of recovery, with potential for further business investment, the public sector remains severely constrained given reductions in public sector spending. Underfloor heating products are now widely marketed alongside renewable technologies and there is likely to be continued growth in this sector. Ease of installation continues to be an important issue in the construction sector, given a skills shortage and a need to reduce both build time and cost, with UFH systems suitable for installation in bathroom/kitchen PODS, as well as precast concrete flooring. By 2020 the market value for the underfloor heating market (UFH) is forecast to have increased by around 15% compared to the market size in 2015.

The ‘Underfloor Heating 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.

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