UK builders’ merchants boosted by private housing demand

During a mixed year for the UK construction industry, builders’ merchants have bucked the trend thanks to demand from the housebuilding industry, as well as DIY customers.

29th September 2017

Research from the Builders’ Merchants Federation found that merchants’ August sales were an average of 5.6% higher than they were during the same period in 2016, with year-to-date sales nearly 5% ahead of where they were at the equivalent point in 2016.


Ironmongery and kitchen and bathroom sales increased the most (by 7.4% and 7% respectively), with the BMF suggesting that housebuilding and household renovations were the key drivers.


The Construction Products Association (CPA) shared similarly upbeat research for merchants, finding that private housing starts will rise by 5% this year, and 2% in 2018, thanks to the continuation of the government’s Help to Buy scheme.


The CPA also predicts that much of this growth will be in regions outside the capital, given the slowdown in the housing market within London.


With the chancellor’s budget due on November 22nd, builders’ merchants and housebuilders should expect more policy announcements to tackle the housing crisis.


However, the CPA were rather more cautious about prospects beyond 2018, with uncertainty around the final Brexit deal as well as worsening skills shortages in construction.


In the short term, builders’ merchants should look to take advantage of rising private housing demand by centring marketing campaigns on this segment of your customer base. Don’t forget to plan for the long term, either. Think about how you can optimise your supply chain and the extent to which you can absorb any price rises.


Use stock control software to keep track of in-demand products and automatically generate purchase orders whenever you’re running low on key items, so that your customers never face empty shelves.


Learn more about how to use stock management software to boost sales and optimise stock levels.

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