Monday, January 23, 2017

Private Residential Rental Market - UK 2016-2020 - Key Facts

  • There has been sustained growth in the private rented sector (PRS) over the last decade, nearly doubling since 2002 to reach around 19% of all households.
  • The level of mortgaged home-ownership in London has fallen from 39% in 2004 to 27% in 2014.
  • Within the residential sector, PRS stock is expected to reach a value of around £1.07 trillion in 2016.
  • The PRS development pipeline is still relatively immature with around 37,450 units in progress, however this figure is expected to rise as growth continues.
  • Currently around 18% of Birmingham's population is in the PRS, but compared with the rest of England, the city has a relatively young age structure reflecting a large student population.

These facts have been extracted from AMA Research's report 'Private Residential Rental Market Report - UK 2016-2020 Analysis', available from or by calling 01242 235724

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Modest growth in the UK conservatory and glazed extensions market

The conservatory and glazed extensions market was estimated have increased by around 3% in 2016. A combination of a continued recovery in the economy in general - and the housing market in particular – have helped underpin rising consumer confidence and spending on higher value home improvements in recent years – particularly with interest rates so low. RMI has become increasingly important within the market as homeowners replace or upgrade older style conservatories and glazed extensions with higher efficiency roofs and windows/doors, and other higher specification products.
Until recently, the UK conservatory market had been in decline for some years, with the aspirational appeal of the traditional conservatory waning in the latter half of the 2000s - a situation which was further exacerbated by the financial crisis. Recent years have seen some recovery in the market, however, while value growth has been relatively good in recent years, volume growth is less buoyant with only 1-2% increases over the last 2 years, and only modest volume increases currently forecast to 2020.
In 2016, the market is quite sophisticated in terms of product range and offers more options for an individualised project. Consumers installing modern conservatories in their home now expect them to be used as living spaces throughout the year rather than only during warmer weather as was previously the case. Key product features which have become more important in the conservatory market include improved thermal efficiency, high specification self-cleaning glass, coloured frames, bifold opening doors, etc. Substantial product development is ongoing in this market with companies offering wider, higher specification and technology products and conservatory ranges for an increasing demanding customer base as homeowners look for a more bespoke service.
We estimate that prices have been rising year on year over the past few years, despite volume fluctuations, primarily reflecting an overall increase in specification levels. For installers, there remains a significant squeeze on margins, particularly in the budget sector, but some installers have addressed this issue by diversifying and offering a wider range of products than traditional conservatory/window companies, with examples including solar panels, alarm systems or driveways, among other products.
In terms of frame materials, PVCu continues to dominate, but timber also retains a significant share based on its attraction for many homeowners due to its natural appearance and sustainability credentials. Aluminium remains a more expensive option, though it has retained a niche share in the domestic market – though aluminium bifold doors, particularly, have gained widespread consumer acceptance.
In general, the main channels of distribution are replacement window companies, garden centres, DIY outlets, conservatory specialists, builders and online. In the self-build conservatory sector, the focus has switched from DIY outlets to online conservatory specialists, who offer a wider range of product options than those offered by DIY outlets.
“Market improvement in 2017 and beyond is likely to be driven by levels of house moving/home extension building, consumer confidence and growth in the retrofit/upgrade market – particularly if interest rates remain at historically low levels” said Jane Tarver of AMA Research. “However, the future economic landscape is tempered by the uncertainty surrounding the commencement and potential effects of Brexit.”
However, substantial increases in volumes or value are not forecast in new conservatory demand in the short–medium term. Current forecasts indicate modest growth in overall value of sales, but this is likely to be underpinned by the continuing interest in upgrading or replacing older conservatories with higher specification products. In addition, we estimate that annual volumes are likely to remain below 100,000 in the short-medium term. Ultimately, conservatories/extensions are a ‘deferrable purchase’ and sales volumes are heavily dependent on economic conditions, making future demand year on year is difficult to forecast in the current climate.

The ‘Domestic Conservatory and Glazed Extensions Market Report – UK 2016-2020 Analysis’ report is published by AMA Research, a leading provider of market research and consultancy services with over 25 years’ experience in the construction and home improvement markets.  The report is available now and can be ordered online at or by calling 01242 235724.

Domestic Kitchen and Bathroom Worktops - UK 2016-2020 - Key Facts

  • The value of the total kitchen worktop market has grown by 16% in the last 4 years.
  • Worktops account for around 14% of the total kitchen furniture and worktops market.
  • The bathroom worktop market has shown growth, although it remains a small sector of the overall worktop market - at around 6-7%.
  • Natural and engineered stone account for some 21% of the kitchen worktop market in value terms.
  • Around 27% of kitchen worktop sales by value in the UK are through the Retail Kitchen Specialists for 2015, a reduction from previous years.

These facts have been extracted from AMA Research's report 'Domestic Kitchen and Bathroom Worktops Market Report - UK 2016-2020 Analysis', available from or by calling 01242 235724

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Good growth forecast in the UK powered access equipment market

The UK access equipment market was estimated to have grown by 7% in 2015, followed by further growth of 4% in 2016, according to a new report released by AMA Research. Overall, powered and specialist access equipment is estimated to account for around 57% of the market in 2015, with non-powered access equipment accounting for the remainder. Following a stagnant period, the market returned to growth in 2012, experiencing particularly sharp growth in 2014, with slightly lower growth in 2015/16.
This growth was initially driven by an improvement in the powered access equipment sector, although the non-powered sector also increased in value in 2014, largely in response to higher output in housebuilding. However, powered access equipment has continued to enjoy faster growth overall than non-powered equipment, as safety considerations and the increasing range and penetration of powered products in the low-level access sector continue to erode the share of non-powered equipment.
The access equipment market is influenced by the relative health of key end-use sectors, principally new build construction. In addition to housebuilding, the key construction sectors that have contributed to growth have included infrastructure, offices and industrial. Powered access and non-powered access products compete for similar work and, within each separate sector, products also compete directly, for example, access towers, scaffolding and ladders.
The rental sector is a key purchaser of access equipment, particularly in the MEWP sector, which represents the largest segment of the overall market. This has been particularly relevant in recent years as hire companies have sought to renew and expand their fleets in response to improving economic prospects, along with growth in construction output.
Legislation on safe working at height, most notably the ‘Work at Height Regulations 2005’, continues to impact the UK market for access equipment, driving demand for safer products. Tighter emissions regulations, most recently the European Stage IV emission standards, which came into force in 2014, have also added value to the market, as purchasers seek to replace older products with compliant equipment, such as hybrid powered machines.
Within the powered access sector, MEWPs account for the majority share, with an estimated share of around 50% in terms of value. In the non-powered sector, aluminium dominates the ladders materials mix, but GRP has gained market share and is increasingly seen as a mainstream product, not just one for applications where non-conductive materials are necessary.
“Going forward, the powered access equipment market is forecast to perform better than the non-powered sector, particularly towards the latter part of the decade, as the non-powered sector is more mature with less scope for product development” said Hayley Thornley, Market Research Manager at AMA Research. “After a period of comparative price stability, some future price rises are expected, also adding value to the market across the review period.”
Prospects for the construction industry continue to appear positive, although lower growth rates are expected compared with 2015 and 2016. Growth in construction output will generate market opportunities for access equipment, especially in the housebuilding and infrastructure sectors, which are likely to be boosted by government measures. However, UK business confidence remains fragile, and in addition, the access equipment market can fluctuate, being influenced by fleet buying decisions in the relatively volatile MEWP sector, leading to erratic levels of growth. From 2017, growth is expected to continue at an average 3-4% a year until 2020.

The ‘Access Equipment Market Report – UK 2016-2020 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.

Friday, January 13, 2017

The UK floorcoverings market continued to perform well in 2016

Growth in the UK floorcoverings market has gathered pace in 2015-16, despite ongoing uncertainties in terms of both the economy and consumer confidence, according to a new report from AMA Research. Despite the ‘Brexit’ vote, growth has remained broadly positive in 2016, reflecting a mix of a relatively buoyant housing market and steady demand from several key contract sectors. Initial estimates are that the total floorcoverings market has grown by around 4% in 2016 – reaching a level of around £2 billion in the UK.
Sustainability and environmental credentials are becoming even more significant, particularly in the contract sector, not only in terms of raw materials but also in terms of the manufacturing process, use of energy, emissions and recycling/recycled content. The competitive nature of the market and downward pressure on prices is also forcing suppliers to focus strongly on improving efficiencies, expanding their product ranges (often via acquisitions) and adopting strategies that will both protect and enhance their sales and market positions.
Carpet continues to hold the largest share in value terms in 2016 at around 56% - though this would be higher when measured in volume terms. Following a period of steady decline, share for carpets in the UK has now stabilised with both consumers and contract specifiers recognising the benefits of different flooring products in different areas of application. 
Growth in the UK wood flooring sector in 2015-16 has been relatively strong, at around 4% per annum, with laminates continuing to be a strong driver for growth due to increased use in the student accommodation and in the serviced apartments sectors. Vinyl sales are currently outperforming all other product sectors in the UK floorcoverings market, with demand driven largely by the rising popularity of LVT. Demand from the contract sector has continued to underpin growth, with safety flooring a particularly strong area of focus, with tiles increasing share in recent years.
The market for ceramic, porcelain and natural stone floor tiles is worth around £200m underpinned by strong growth in the kitchen and bathroom sectors, as well as strong demand from contract sectors such as transport, retail and entertainment. Import penetration into this sector is high, estimated at around 70-75% in recent years. This is due to the small number of large volume UK ceramic tile manufacturers and the relatively high profile of European producers who have progressively taken share in the UK market. Key sectors for natural stone floor tiles include upmarket homes and residential developments, hotels and spas, and commercial buildings.
In general, prospects for the floorcoverings market are for steady growth in the short to medium term, although there are indications that the rate of growth may slow slightly in 2017-20. However, a key factor influencing future growth for flooring is the “Brexit” issue and its impact on the general economy and levels of consumer confidence.
“One of the key ‘unknowns’ will remain the strength of Sterling in relation to both the Euro and US$. A weakening pound will impact both prices and margins, affecting manufacturers and suppliers reliant on imports of products and/or raw materials” said Jane Tarver at AMA Research. “Local manufacturers and exporters are likely to see some benefit however, and there is potential for some to grow their market share”.
Distribution routes are also likely to be impacted by the structural changes currently occurring in the retail sector, with many channels now offering multi or omni-channel services as well as “click and collect”. Ultimately, floorcoverings is a mature sector and sales volumes will depend upon levels of consumer and business confidence, as well as household spending and business investment levels.
The ‘Floorcoverings Market Report – UK 2016-2020 Analysis’ report is published by AMA Research, a leading provider of market research and consultancy services with over 25 years’ experience in the construction and home improvement markets. The report is available now and can be ordered online at or by calling 01242 235724.