Recent trends across multiple sectors that we track in DIY and Trade show that increasing prices are helping to maintain value sales. This is despite slowing volumes – and we are now seeing the same trend in the Plumbers Merchants channel. The first two months of year on year growth show average price increases of 4% and 3% for August and September 2018 respectively for the Gas Boilers market.
We recently increased our visibility of the tech and durable market by launching our Plumbers Merchants channel, tracking Gas Boilers, Showers and Taps, and with Programmable Thermostats coming early in 2019. This channel compliments our already existing Builders Merchants channel to provide a wider overview of point of sales data across the Trade market.
Insights into this channel have come at just the right time, when a number of wider market trends mean that manufacturers and merchants are crying out to understand the way their market is evolving. There is uncertainty around Brexit and the growth of online offerings, while the lines seem to be blurring between traditional DIY stores and trade. In addition, we are seeing smart home development moving into this channel, as we all adapt to the Internet of Things. And, on top of all that, the UK government’s house building target also has to be kept in mind.
The most immediate trend that needs analyzing is the residual effect of March’s Beast from the East on the Gas Boilers segment. Overall, DIY and Trade related sales plummeted along with the freezing temperatures in March, and then soared in June alongside scorching temperatures and England’s run to the semis. This, as could be reasonably expected, was not the case for Gas Boilers during the freezing cold, with March being the busiest month to date in 2018 for the Plumbers Merchants channel.
Traditionally we are now entering peak season for Gas Boilers sales. In fact, November 2017 sales values were £8m ahead of the average monthly sales over the period Oct17 - Sep18. But will the harsh Q1 have affected the seasonality and demand for the rest of this year?
March 2018, which is typically towards the end of the Gas Boilers season, saw a spike in sales, and it could be that some consumes brought forward their intended purchase. If this is the case, this opens up more questions: Have merchants and manufacturers planned for this in 2018 Q4? More importantly, how can our new data provide insight on future planning the next time something like this happens?
Feel free to contact Simon Foy or Emile van der Ryst for more information on this topic, or anything related to the Plumbers Merchants channel or Sanitary market at:
Simon Foy - simon.foy(at)gfk.com
Emile van der Ryst - emile.van-der-ryst(at)gfk.com