New Plumbing & Heating Merchant Index report launched

A new report charting the sales performance of specialist plumbing & heating merchants from month to month has been launched. The new Plumbing & Heating Merchant Index (PHMI) report, a brand of the BMF, is the first to analyse point of sales data collated from a range of specialist plumbing & heating merchants with combined annual sales of £3bn.

The first edition of the PHMI report, based on data from GfK’s Plumbing & Heating Merchant Panel which represents 75-80% of the market in value terms, shows that specialist plumbing & heating merchants’ sales in December were up 4.4% compared with December 2019, on two extra trading days. This was the highest monthly year-on-year sales increase in 2020.

Sales in December were lower compared with November 2020, which had four more trading days, but when adjusted for the trading day difference, sales were only 6.8% lower. A second lockdown in combination with a seasonal slowdown are likely causes of the fall in sales. Over the final quarter of 2020, sales were down by just -0.4% on Q3, with one more trading day this year.

The report also shows the impact of the pandemic on specialist plumbing & heating merchants, and charts the sector’s gradual recovery since the fall caused by the first lockdown in the Spring. By the year end, cumulative year-to-date sales finished down 13.2% on 2019.

PHMI trend data is indexed on the 12 months of 2019. The fourth quarter PHMI index was 103.4, making it the first quarter in 2020 to exceed 100.

MRA Research produces the report, which provides reliable data and a platform and voice for the industry, as well as for leading plumbing & heating brand, on a monthly basis. There is no overlap or double counting between PHMI and the Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) sales data.

To download the latest report, or learn more about becoming an Expert, speaking on behalf of your market, visit

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