The Builders Merchant Building Index

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VALUE EX VAT Index Q2 2019 Q3 2019 Q4 2019 Q1 2020 Q2 2020 Q3 2020 Q4 2020 Q1 2021 Q2 2021 Q3 2021 Q4 2021 Q1 2022
Total Builders Merchants 100 122.9 123.1 106.4 105.6 76.4 124.6 111.1 120.7 149.7 146.1 127.5 142.1
Timber & Joinery Products 100 122.8 122.4 107.4 104.3 78.0 133.4 125.4 141.5 183.0 191.9 160.7 171.7
Heavy Building Materials 100 122.2 123.0 105.0 104.8 75.1 119.9 106.8 113.1 136.3 133.3 118.7 132.7
Decorating 100 111.0 116.6 106.0 102.5 56.3 108.5 99.5 101.1 112.2 112.9 104.6 114.2
Tools 100 100.2 101.4 96.0 90.3 41.0 94.4 90.7 99.6 103.0 97.6 94.6 107.3
Workwear & Safetywear 100 98.3 105.0 117.9 129.1 67.5 113.7 113.3 117.3 103.9 98.3 113.3 117.1
Ironmongery 100 122.6 124.8 113.8 112.7 65.0 123.2 112.6 119.3 133.8 126.2 117.2 133.4
Landscaping 100 157.4 142.5 95.3 102.6 138.8 175.5 112.1 141.5 237.5 184.0 128.3 161.9
Plumbing, Heating & Electrical 100 115.8 120.1 125.8 121.0 53.9 104.6 116.0 122.9 118.6 116.7 127.2 143.0
Renewables & Water Saving 100 66.3 76.7 68.3 79.2 31.5 66.4 62.6 70.3 77.2 71.2 70.9 90.9
Kitchens & Bathrooms 100 114.8 121.4 114.6 111.9 48.4 111.6 109.8 107.5 116.7 125.3 120.8 135.7
Miscellaneous 100 116.6 127.4 115.0 129.5 63.3 111.0 108.6 115.9 119.2 122.1 114.3 130.7
Services 100 113.9 118.3 107.7 102.0 72.8 115.9 107.3 110.4 127.9 132.1 121.8 126.4

Source: GfK's Builders Merchants Total Category Report - July 2015 to March 2022

Quarterly Overview - Q1 2022

2022 was thrown into complete turmoil at the end of February when Russia did the unthinkable and invaded Ukraine. The horrifying human cost and tragedy seen since then has created even more difficulty for the global economy. Growth forecasts have been revised down and there’s widespread commentary around financial pressures, cost of living and expected food shortages.

Against this sombre backdrop there’s the acceptance that day to day life in the UK will become much more challenging in the next couple of years. This will of course influence construction and trade, either through less contracted work, price increases or supply chain issues. For now, the first quarter of 2022 has shown value growth, up by 17.7% against 2021 Q1. Almost all of this is driven by price increases, with volume only up by 1.5%.

From 2021 Q1 to 2022 Q1 Heavy Building Materials is up by 17.4% in value, but its volume is only up by 5.0%. Within this category all of Blocks, Bricks, Cement, Plasterboard and Roofing Products saw its highest average quarterly price to date.

Timber & Joinery is even more affected by pricing, with value up 21.4% and volume down by -11.3%. This price increase of 36.9% from 2021 Q1 shows the current reality of the Timber & Joinery market, but it’s important to mention that pricing has seen a decrease of -6.7% against 2021 Q4, so it might have already peaked. Landscaping, as the final core category, has seen a value increase of 14.4%, with volumes down by -3.5%.

Outside of the core categories Lightside has seen its best performing value quarter to date. Most of this is again influenced by pricing, with the highest average price on record seen for Ironmongery, Tools, Workwear and Safetywear and Plumbing, Heating and Electrical. The latter has seen value growth of 16.4% and has benefitted from both volume (+5.6%) and pricing (+10.2%) growth against 2021 Q1.

The second quarter is very difficult to predict, but as mentioned earlier, there’s the expectation that market conditions will become increasingly more difficult as prices continue to rise and consumer spend is stretched further and further.

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