On-line sales of building materials set to grow in 2008
Builders Merchants Federation
Over 20% of jobbing builders and over 70% of DIYers say they intend to buy more online in 2008. About 650m GBP of building materials are already being bought through on-line or catalogue channels. Convenience is the key factor driving online purchasing; the three main advantages identified being that purchases can be made any time, there's no need to visit the store and small quantity purchases are delivered.
Over 90% of builders' merchants interviewed by their federation expect online sales to grow, but only a quarter of them see it as a serious threat. Most regard it as a small threat or just nuisance value.
John Pratt, Chief Executive of Leading Edge, who has researched the market, is concerned by their apparent complacency. He points out that "the market is getting more competitive, as the online specialists grow. But Screwfix, which already accounts for around 40% of the on-line market, has responded with a chain of 'Argos-like' trade counters, giving the builder even more choice. This doubles the scope of challenge for builders' merchants."
In co-operation with The Federation of Master Builders (FMB), Leading Edge and The Builders' Merchant Federation quizzed over 1500 jobbing builders in the latest FMB survey. The data shows that small builders have become more internet savvy. The majority of small builders have made work-related purchases on-line in the last year. What has lead to this? It's no surprise to find that younger builders have the skills and larger firms encourage it.
Purchases online aren't confined to tools, hardware and PPE either. Online purchasing of electrical and heating/ plumbing supplies is significant. The big surprise is that around 1 in 10 people have purchased major items such as kitchens & bathrooms and doors, windows & conservatories in this way.
Consumer research by Leading Edge shows that DIYers online purchasing behaviour is not much different. Not only had they bought tools & hardware online, but decorating supplies as well as electrical and plumbing items.
Convenience is again the key factor driving online purchasing and they also like to browse and read about products before buying. Of the 519 DIYers interviewed, while over 90% had used a DIY store, over 40% had also used a builders' merchant and 16% had purchased materials online last year.
You can find out more by visiting the BMF website.
The full report is available on our site.
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