The outlook for the builders and plumbers merchants market is expected to be “cautiously optimistic”, according the new data.
The ‘Builders and Plumbers Merchants Market Report – UK 2017-2021 Analysis’ from AMA Research found that the market would see growth of 2% in 2017, compared with the previous year.
AMA said that competition from other channels, in particular online and the home-improvement multiples, continues to impact the market.
However, it claimed that merchants appeared to have outperformed home-improvement multiples in recent years, while their expansion into e-commerce had offset some of the movement towards internet-only distributors.
Over the next three to four years, growth in the builders and plumbers merchants market is likely to be moderate at 2% to 3% per year until 2021, according to AMA Research.
The report suggested that new opportunities may arise from the demand for greater sustainability in construction materials and materials with low-carbon footprints.
Investment in online and mobile websites, in terms of improvements to product offering, availability and ordering processes, as well as overall customer service, may also contribute to growth.
AMA Research claimed that companies that embrace online selling and service would see higher growth than those that choose to stick to a more traditional approach.
“Prospects for the merchants’ market remain optimistic, although cautious, with confidence in the continued recovery of the UK economy positive, but tempered by the uncertainty of the outcome of Brexit negotiations,” said Fiona Watts, editor of AMA Research.
“Drivers in the residential sector include underinvestment in the housing stock in terms of new-build requirements and the age of the current dwellings, which has stimulated expenditure on RMI activity, and the continued confidence in the new house-building sector in terms of starts, forward reservations, completions and average prices.”