The value of the overall kitchen and bathroom worktop market is estimated to have reached a value in excess of £200m in 2015, reflecting a recent recovery in the market after the difficult post-recession trading period. There has been steady growth in the market since 2011, as a result of an increasing level of consumer confidence and a return to favour of the housing market in particular. The worktop market has grown fractionally faster than the equivalent kitchen furniture and overall bathroom products market.
The value of the total kitchen worktop market is estimated to have increased by around 5% in 2015, following a number of years of relatively good growth of 4-5% per annum. The distribution structure of the worktops market is highly fragmented, with raw material suppliers, importers, manufacturers, fabricators and distributors all being involved. In recent years, there have been changes to distribution shares, with growth in the builders merchants sector, while the DIY multiples sector has lost market share.
Key issues that have influenced this market sector in recent years include; an emphasis on aesthetics and stylish designs; the blurring of distinction between the kitchen and dining room, with less formality in the home and a move towards open plan living; a growing interest in cooking as a hobby and the demand for professional style kitchens and appliances and a trading up to higher value materials and products. The sale of kitchens with installation included is likely to continue to increase, with many large suppliers now promoting this service.
In the bathroom worktop market, growth resumed in 2012, following a difficult period. In 2015, the market saw growth of 8%, though from a low base, and in value terms regained the level seen prior to the economic downturn. However, bathroom worktops remain a small market in overall value terms. Builders and plumbers merchants are the major distributors for bathroom worktops with around 40% of the market, followed by DIY multiples and bathroom equipment specialists.
Major issues currently influencing this market include; rising levels of consumer confidence, which has increased the demand for design-led features in the bathroom; increase in the popularity of solid surfaces for worktops, partly because they can be worked into any shape and can be used to create an integrated basin, worktop and splashback; and a growth in the number of second bathrooms in the new housing market. However, the relatively high proportion of flats and apartments in this sector, and the generally small size of bathrooms in the UK, have limited growth in the bathroom worktops sector.
“As the kitchen market continues to grow, both natural stone and composite materials are forecast to gain market share, with granite and quartz in particular likely to become more competitive as a result of imports from lower cost producers” said Keith Taylor, Director of AMA Research. “However, the affordability and versatility of laminates means that they are likely to continue to dominate the market in the foreseeable future, particularly in volume terms.”
The future prospects for the worktops market are relatively positive with growth anticipated over the next 4-5 years, driven by a more secure and growing new housing market as well as a fundamentally sound level of consumer confidence underpinning the wider refurbishment and home improvement market. Growth in the market for kitchen worktops is likely to continue, and although demand for bathroom furniture and worktops is likely to show only modest growth until 2020, in the medium to long term the projected increases in the level of housebuilding volumes may lead to increased requirements for bathrooms and kitchens, including furniture and worktops. However, one key factor likely to continue to limit growth is the high level of competition at the retail level, which is expected to continue unabated.
The ‘Domestic Kitchen and Bathroom Worktops 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 www.amaresearch.co.uk or by calling 01242 235724.