Friday, March 16, 2018

Distribution market for garden products in the UK worth around £5bn

The UK domestic garden products distribution market was worth an estimated £4.9bn in 2017 at retail selling prices (RSP), representing an increase of 3% compared to the previous year. Both the weather and the state of the economy influence growth rates within the garden products distribution market. A strong interest in home improvement, which extends to the garden, has also stimulated growth in this sector.
Key product sectors in the market are horticulture, garden sundries and garden buildings, which all account for a share of 20% or more by value, and garden equipment, garden leisure and garden chemicals, with slightly lower shares. Each sub-sector is subject to different influences and trends, for example, investment in ‘higher ticket’ items such as paving, walling and conservatories may be deferred if consumer confidence drops, and fencing sales may be boosted by wet and windy weather.
Whilst some parts of the garden products market may be considered comparatively mature, such as barbecues, conservatories and garden furniture, the desire to reflect more premium materials and styles is encouraging trade up sales. Developing areas within the market include garden rooms and garden decoration. Artificial grass has also risen in popularity, given the minimal maintenance required.
A notable trend has been the desire to maximise recreational use of the garden including for socialising and dining ‘al fresco’. This has helped to sustain growth in the sector as the garden is perceived as an additional room in the home. Other practical uses include use of the garden for home working and storage resulting in an increase in sales of garden buildings and clever use of space. Environmental aspects have become more prevalent, with greater concern over the provenance of materials, such as timber and ingredients used in garden control products and fertilisers.
Although demand for housing remains high in the UK, the rates of housebuilding and home moving activity have been slow in recent years, impacting negatively on the garden products market. The average size of the UK garden is also diminishing and this, coupled with an increase in apartments, has given rise to products which suit a smaller space, such as ‘vertical gardens’ and greater use of pots and containers which can be re-located from home to home and suit balconies.
“The DIY sector and garden centres account for the majority of sales of garden products, reflecting their diverse product range, especially in garden equipment and leisure products, but these are facing increasing competition from other channels - in particular online specialists, but also discount chains and grocery stores” said Fiona Watts, Editor at AMA Research. “Although most larger DIY outlets have embraced the internet as a distribution channel, there is significant scope for existing retailers to develop internet sales, particularly in the garden centre sector.”
The UK is undergoing a period of political and economic uncertainty, as negotiations for Brexit continue. This has created a number of issues, such as potential seasonal labour shortages within the horticultural sector and the rising costs of imported garden products and components. Price competition will, however, constrain market value to some degree, despite any price increases, due to the rising cost of imports.
Our market forecasts assume moderate growth within the garden products distribution sector, from 2018 – 2022, underpinned by sustained demand for housing and interest in home improvement. The market is forecast to grow by around 2% per year until the end of the forecast period, assuming UK weather patterns over this period are not severe.
The GardenProducts Distribution Market Report – UK 2018-2022 report is published by AMA Research, a leading provider of market research and consultancy services with over 25 years’ experience within the construction and home improvement markets. The report is available now and can be ordered online at or by calling 01242 235724.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

UK contract floorcoverings market worth in excess of £1bn

After achieving strong growth of 4% in 2015, growth rates in the contract floorcoverings market were slightly disappointing in 2016 and 2017. A number of factors had a negative impact on the market, including increasing inflation towards the end of the period and adverse currency movements as an indirect result of the Brexit vote, affecting imports. However, despite reduced growth rates, the value of the contract flooring market exceeded £1bn in 2017. The contract sector accounts for around half of the total floorcoverings market, and its share continues to increase.

There has been only modest change to the product mix in this sector recent years. Carpet has decreased in share marginally, mainly reflecting a growth in vinyl flooring, which is now the second largest product group. The growth of vinyl has been underpinned by the increased specification of safety flooring and the more recent trend for luxury vinyl tiles to be installed in the retail and office sectors. The medium-term outlook is for similarly modest changes to the product mix, with carpet expected to continue to lose share marginally to vinyl products and floor tiles in the period to 2022.

UK manufacturers remain under pressure from imports, particularly from the larger overseas floorcoverings groups, who increasingly cover several types of floorcoverings products. However, going forward UK manufacturers should gain some competitive advantage from the increased cost of imported products, although that factor will increase the cost of any raw materials they import themselves.

Keith Taylor, Director of AMA Research commented: “The contract floorcoverings market has changed significantly over the last decade. Following developments in the domestic sector, a wider range of flooring products are now included in specifications, demonstrated by a move away from carpet towards smooth flooring materials in recent years. One change has been the move to a more integrated use of different flooring materials within a single installation, possibly combining carpeting with a vinyl product, although the use of different types of vinyl has also increased, especially LVT.”

Going forward, the outlook for the overall floorcoverings market is generally optimistic, although forecasts have been lowered recently, mainly resulting from the uncertainty affecting the Brexit negotiations, and over the next five years, growth rates of 2-3% are forecast in the market. Positive factors impacting the market include opportunities for new build and RMI work in the health and education sectors.

The construction of HS2 should lead to greater demand for floorcoverings on concourses, restaurants and perhaps other establishments near the various stations. However, growth in the contract sector is expected to be adversely affected by the lack of growth in the overall construction sector in 2018 and slow growth in the following years, as a result of a decline in the private commercial construction sector.

The Contract Floorcoverings Market Report – UK 2018-2022 report is published by AMA Research, a leading provider of market research and consultancy services with over 25 years’ experience within the construction and home improvement markets. The report is available now and can be ordered online at or by calling 01242 235724.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Powered Access Equipment Hire Market - 5 Key Facts

  • The Powered Access Equipment Hire market is expected to grow by 6% between 2017 and 2020. 
  • The hire market is a particularly important part of the supply chain for MEWPs in the UK, representing around 80% of manufacturers’ sales.
  • Scissor lifts and boom lifts dominate hire fleets in 2016, accounting for a share of 47% and 29% respectively in terms of the volume of equipment hired.
  • Boom lifts account for nearly half (48%) the total value of the UK powered access hire market.
  • It is estimated that 70-75% of hire market revenue is accounted for by specialist companies.
These facts have been extracted from AMA Research's 'Powered Access Equipment Hire Market Report - UK 2017-2021 Analysis' available for purchase now. 

Friday, March 09, 2018

UK social housing market worth an estimated £11.4bn in 2017

Housing Associations account for around 60% of social housing stock in 2017-18 and also form the largest not-for-profit group in the UK, working closely with both private and public organisations. Around 76% of market stock owned or managed by housing associations is general needs housing, which is primarily social rental accommodation. In terms of value, the social housing construction market was estimated to be worth around £11.4bn in 2017, including both newbuild and RMI activity.

The social housing sector is diverse with over 1,700 registered providers in the UK. Most of these are small players, but the leading associations hold larger portfolios and much of the sector’s development capacity. A series of significant mergers have taken place over the past couple of years to achieve economies of scale and greater development influence. The top 30 housing association groups now account for around 59% of the social housing market, compared with 41% in 2015.
The sector is currently experiencing funding issues influenced by increased financial constraints on local authorities and social rent cuts of 1% a year from 2016-17, something which has led to reduced discretionary spending on maintenance and improvements. The Affordable Rent model has also had a considerable impact on income streams.
As a result of successive programmes which place an emphasis on affordable, rather than social rent, the number of new homes for social rent has continued to decline as housing associations build fewer homes and acquire fewer properties. Housing association starts in 2016-17 were down by around 6.3% on the previous year for the UK as a whole, while completions were also down by around 3%. The majority of social housing completions were for affordable rent, while the main area of decline was in social rent completions.
The Government’s primary focus for the housing sector at present is home ownership and getting people on the housing ladder, by subsidising first-time buyers with policies such as ‘right to buy’, ‘help to buy’ and ‘rent to own’. However, recent Government announcements in both England and Scotland have seen ambitious targets to tackle the housing deficit, including a recent announcement of a further £2bn for affordable housing in October 2017.
The Government is also making available £4.7bn of capital grant through the Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme (SOAHP), and in London, £3.15bn has been secured under the London Affordable Homes Programme 2016-2021 to start building at least 90,000 new affordable homes up to 2021, of which around 50% will be affordable. In addition, the Scottish Government plans to deliver at least 50,000 affordable homes by March 2021, 70% of which will be for social rent.
Despite these ambitious targets, there is still widespread doubt across the sector that these targets will be met, with a lack of suitable sites and continuing delays to the planning process also hampering delivery. There is now a much-reduced role for the social housing sector in newbuild housing. Funding for affordable housing has fallen in recent years and housing providers are now expected to build homes for sale and rent at full market prices, and using the profits to provide a smaller portfolio of social homes.
Expenditure on planned maintenance work in order to maintain homes in a good condition has remained static over the past few years. However, expenditure on major repairs has declined slightly in 2016/17, as the Decent Homes Programme moved into its final stages. Growth in expenditure on housing association RMI is expected to slow from 2017 onwards. Other issues influencing repair and maintenance include tower block safety and the Building Safety Programme.
“Prospects for the sector in the short-medium term remain challenging. The limited grant funding under the Affordable Housing Programme, driven by the emphasis on the Affordable Rent investment model, has prompted Social Housing providers to seek finance and support from alternative sources, with some forming partnerships with private sector providers” said Hayley Thornley, Research Manager at AMA Research. “Going forward, social housing completions are expected to remain relatively flat, rising by between 1-3% to 2021-22.”
The SocialHousing Construction and Maintenance Market Report – UK 2018-2022 report is published by AMA Research, a leading provider of market research and consultancy services with over 25 years’ experience within the construction and home improvement markets. The report is available now and can be ordered online at or by calling 01242 235724.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

The UK pipes and fittings market has grown by 21% since 2012

The UK pipes and fittings market has achieved good levels of growth over the last five years, and although growth has slowed more recently, the market has achieved overall value growth of 21% since 2012. Key factors influencing market growth in recent years include increasing levels of demand from key end-use sectors, principally in new housebuilding and non-domestic construction, and rises in raw material prices such as copper and plastic over the last two years. The plumbing pipe systems sector accounts for over half of the pipes and fittings market, as defined by AMA Research, with the rainwater, soil and waste products sector accounting for the remainder.

Flexible plastic plumbing pipe systems are the dominant material used in hot and cold potable water installations, particularly for new build. Factors driving the growth of the plastic sector include technological developments, improved reliability, installation efficiency, the growth of underfloor heating and the price advantage over metal products. In addition, in the residential sector, the faster rate of growth of new build, compared with RMI, has boosted the market share of plastic, as plastic tends to dominate the new build sector.
Hayley Thornley, Research Manager at AMA Research, commented:
“In particular, plastic push-fit and press-fit fittings have experienced growth due to the considerable savings made on installation time. In addition, with increasing health and safety legislation, and the lack of ‘traditional’ skills of soldering and welding pipework, there has been a continuing shift in the market towards flame free jointing. Use of multi-layer barrier pipes, including a metal layer to protect against degradation, has also grown significantly in the water supply sector.”
Although the market for copper pipe has grown relatively more slowly in recent years, it is still used across the majority of heating installations, and copper pipe remains a popular choice among plumbers, particularly in exposed areas, where its ‘traditional’ aesthetic appeal remains strong, and copper shows signs of starting to stabilise its market share
PVC-U continues to dominate the above ground rainwater guttering, soil and waste pipework sector. There is continuing demand for seamless aluminium guttering and cast-iron effect PVC-U guttering, which provides the effect of cast iron.
The focus on reducing water consumption has increased in recent years and rainwater harvesting has become an important way of achieving this, especially in densely populated areas, such as London and the South East, where water shortages are more likely.
The outlook for the UK pipes and fittings market in 2018 is moderately positive, supported by continued growth in construction levels and RMI expenditure, though the rate of growth is likely to be slower than in the period 2012-2016. However, residential RMI – which the market is highly reliant on - is likely to experience low annual growth rates reflecting weaker consumer confidence, rising inflation, a reduction in the DIY skills base and fewer high value RMI projects such as bathrooms, kitchens and extensions. A flat house moving market is also having a negative impact on RMI activity at present.
The Pipes and Fittings Market Report – UK 2018-2022 report is published by AMA Research, a leading provider of market research and consultancy services with over 25 years’ experience within the construction and home improvement markets. The report is available now and can be ordered online at or by calling 01242 235724.

Monday, March 05, 2018

Pet Accessories Market - 5 Key Facts

  • Despite challenging economic circumstances, the pet accessories market is relatively resilient to economic changes and has remained relatively static in recent years.
  • Our 2017 estimate for the share of the market covered by birds is 4-6%, reflecting an increase in ownership figures.
  • The pet superstore channel has continued to grow with an estimated 40% share of the market in 2016-17.
  • The pet accessories market remains highly competitive and very fragmented with even the largest players only having overall share of around 4-7%.
  • The mature nature of the market and intense price competition means that significant growth into the medium is unlikely, with annual growth rates of around 2-3% currently forecast to 2021.
These facts have been extracted from AMA Research's 'Pet Accessories Market Report - UK 2017-2021 Analysis' available for purchase now. 

Monday, February 26, 2018

Construction Equipment Rental Market - 5 Key Facts

  • The market grew 7% from 2014 due to improvements in both housing and non-domestic building markets as well as manufacturing and other non-construction end-use sectors.
  • Earth moving equipment represents the largest equipment sector, accounting for around 22% of hire value.
  • The top 12 companies account for around 45% of the market. 
  • Powered access dominates the hire market for access equipment sector, accounting for an estimated 69% share.
  • The key hire market for gardening and landscaping equipment are cultivators & rotavators with 22%, hedge trimmers/ strimmers/ brush cutters and chippers & shredders (19%).
These facts have been extracted from AMA Research's 'Construction Equipment Rental Market Report - UK 2017-2021 Analysis' available for purchase now. 

Growth decelerates in the commercial glazing market as commercial construction slows

Following good growth in 2015-16, the UK market for commercial glazing has been less buoyant in 2017 as the private commercial sector reacted to the climate of uncertainty surrounding the Brexit process. This resulted in only marginal growth, at best, for 2017.  The commercial glazing sector is particularly reliant on the offices and retail sectors which have both seen reductions in new order values in 2016-17 as expansion and investment plans for some organisations have been deferred. Current forecasts indicate that the market is likely to flatten in 2018-19, followed by modest annual growth rates of around 2-3% to 2021.

Within the commercial glazing market, the largest segment by value is commercial windows, with an estimated share of 56%, followed by curtain wall and ground floor treatments, while roof glazing accounts for the smallest share. The level of demand for ground floor treatments has been affected by structural changes within the retail sector towards online shopping and ‘click and collect’ services, whilst the trend for the grocery multiples to build ‘express’ type outlets has also affected the average value of contracts. In terms of frame materials, aluminium dominates but timber, PVCu, steel and composites all have reasonable shares and sector strengths.
Following the higher levels reached in 2016, the market is estimated to show marginal growth in 2017 with no real growth 2018-19. Trends follow those in key construction markets with office, retail and education construction forecast to weaken during this period.
Jane Tarver of AMA Research commented: “Commercial glazing suppliers will continue to derive gains from RMI particularly in those sectors showing lower annual growth in new construction work, such as education and healthcare. Increasing average prices are likely to be a characteristic of the market into the medium-term which will result in some value growth, but with the volume of commercial glazing opportunities likely to decline”.
Key to the medium-term prospects for the commercial glazing market in the UK are the levels of business confidence and investment, which remain uncertain at present and will depend on the outcome of the Brexit negotiation process. In addition, the strength of the private commercial sector construction output will be key, with some regions benefitting from a strong pipeline of work, eg London and the South East, but with other regions likely to be less buoyant.
The issue of pricing will also be affected the performance of Sterling on the foreign exchange markets since the UK is a significant importer of some glazing systems, as well as being a key market for leading non-UK based contractors.
The Commercial Glazing Market Report – UK 2017-2021 Analysis report is published by AMA Research, a leading provider of market research and consultancy services with over 25 years’ experience within the construction and home improvement markets. The report is available now and can be ordered online at or by calling 01242 235724.

Monday, February 19, 2018

The UK health and education facilities management market declined by 2% in 2017

Over the last few years, the potential for growth in facilities management (FM) outsourcing within the healthcare and education sectors has been limited, largely due to factors such as political and economic uncertainty, cuts in public sector budgets and closure of a number of facilities. Growth within the market for outsourced integrated services and TFM in health and education has therefore been on the modest side. In 2017, the market was estimated to be worth £3.2bn – around 2% lower than in the previous year.

FM market growth has also been hampered by a decline in the number of large-scale projects undertaken. Although healthcare and education represent two of the largest Government departments in terms of PFI/PF2 activity, the number of schemes being signed off on a year-by-year basis is declining due in part to the difficulty in obtaining finance.
In both the healthcare and education sectors there has been a gradual trend towards bundled service and TFM contracts, largely at the expense of single-service varieties. That said, single service contracts remain prevalent within certain market sectors, such as catering in primary and secondary schools. The growing adoption of bundled and TFM contracts has had a positive effect on market value, since these tend to be higher priced. However, the reduction in the number of PFI projects, together with greater contract renegotiation, has limited growth within the TFM sector in the hospital sector.
Healthcare represents the larger of the two sectors covered by this report, although the sector is mature and has declined 3% within the last year. The sector has been impacted by pressure to minimise operational costs to protect frontline services, as well as ongoing rationalisation of the NHS estate as under-utilised premises are sold off. Acute hospitals account for a significant percentage of outsourced FM services, with outsourcing most commonplace in areas such as community health providers and general/acute hospital care.
FM outsourcing is less well-established within the education sector. In 2017, market value saw a small decline compared to the previous year, as growth was affected by restrictions on budgets. Outsourcing of FM services within education is heavily skewed towards primary and secondary schools, which account for almost three-quarters of market value.
Building, engineering & maintenance and cleaning represent two of the most commonly outsourced FM services within the healthcare industry. Although maintenance is also dominant within the education sector, back office functions such as administrative and clerical functions, along with catering, are also widely outsourced. Energy management is likely to provide opportunities in the FM sector.
The higher-level merger and acquisition activity within the FM market appears to have stagnated, most likely due to the current political and economic uncertainty and the low margins currently obtained in the contracted-out services sector. The market’s leading players have appeared more inclined to divest businesses rather than acquire them, in order to focus on core areas of expertise. Until its collapse, Carillion was one of the leading providers of FM services to the health and education sectors.
Fiona Watts of AMA Research said: “The outlook for the FM outsourcing market within healthcare and education is considered moderately positive over the short to medium term, although growth within both sectors is likely to depend upon the prevailing political and economic situation. Government encouragement of greater private sector involvement is expected to continue, providing some optimism in the market.”
A further boost to the market should arise from the continued shift away from single service contracts towards bundled service and TFM packages. This trend is likely to have a more substantial impact within the education sector, where single-service contracts still dominate in several areas. However, budgets are likely to remain restricted for the foreseeable future, despite recent commitments from the Government to increase funding in the NHS and refurbishment of schools.
The FacilitiesManagement Outsourcing - Health & Education Market Report – UK 2018-2022 report is published by AMA Research, a leading provider of market research and consultancy services with over 25 years’ experience within the construction and home improvement markets. The report is available now and can be ordered online at or by calling 01242 235724.

Modular Floorcoverings Market - 5 Key Facts

  • Returning confidence in the private commercial sector and the continuing growth of LVT (luxury vinyl tile) has seen modular floorcoverings increase by 22% between 2012 and 2017.
  • Carpet tile is the dominant sector; however, pressures from competing modular floorcoverings have muted value growth over the last 2-3 years.
  • LVT continues to outperform the wider market but the sector is increasingly subject to increased competition levels and significant downward pressure on prices. 
  • Imports play a significant role for the market with carpet tile, LVT/vinyl tiles and ceramic/porcelain tiles having significant import penetration levels.
  • More modest annual growth rates of around 2-3% are currently forecast to 2021, reflecting the current uncertainties surrounding the Brexit process, increased competition and further pricing pressures.
These facts have been extracted from AMA Research's 'Modular Floorcoverings Market Report - UK 2017-2021 Analysis' available for purchase now.