Despite challenging economic conditions, the majority of KBB retailers report seeing “positive” sales and revenue figures this year.
This was the finding of a study undertaken by the kbb Birmingham exhibition. The study polled the opinions of more than 500 industry professionals, including manufacturers, designers, installers and retailers.
Of retailers reporting positive sales and revenue figures, 30% saw an increase, while 33% felt that their revenue had stayed the same as in previous years.
Similarly, almost three-in-10 manufacturers saw an increase in the volume and value of their sales, and an almost identical number reported sales staying the same.
Two-thirds of retailers (66%) were optimistic about the future of the industry, and expected to see some future growth. Manufacturers were slightly more hesitant, with almost 40% predicting a “small decline” in the market in 2024. Encouragingly, roughly a quarter of manufacturers polled expected to see some growth in the year ahead.
Participants were also asked about what they felt the biggest industry challenges were. For manufacturers, they felt that this was the skills shortage, caused by a lack of available experienced fitters.
Aside from just the skills shortage, manufacturers also felt like staff retention was a big industry challenge right now.
Additionally, manufacturers said that smaller consumer budgets, rising product and material costs, and recovering debt from customers, were all other big challenges they were experiencing right now.
For retailers, along with the competition from online retailers, high rents, limited product supply, and staffing/recruitment were found to be the biggest industry challenges right now.
“With global markets facing economic uncertainty, this is reflected in the responses, which indicate some challenges ahead for the sector”, said kbb Birmingham event director Sam Fisher.
She added: “We want to ensure we have opportunities for visitors to kbb Birmingham to access useful information and support, so are planning a series of drop-in clinics at the show, from financial advisors giving free advice for small businesses, to marketing experts giving digital marketing Q&A sessions.”
This research from kbb Birmingham was conducted as part of the lead up to the event, which takes place from March 3-6, 2024 at Birmingham’s NEC, with registration open now. kbbreview is also proud to be serving as the Lead Media Partner for next year’s event.