UK Plumbing Market Report 2021
“2020 saw an unprecedented decline in activity as restrictions were initially imposed. However, the government-introduced Stamp Duty holiday, combined with the low interest rates associated with COVID-19, caused hugely favourable…

UK Plumbing Market Report 2021

£ 1,495 (Excl.Tax)


Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the UK Plumbing market, including the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Navigating the plumbing products sectors is not an easy task for manufacturers, with so many decision-makers and influencers involved in product selection and varied distribution streams. Companies such as Norcros identify that they serve 7,500 business customers to reach the new construction and repair, maintenance and improvement sectors. This is a fundamental reason why the individual sectors remain fragmented despite the presence of major brand names, many of which operate internationally.

COVID-19 devastated demand in the first half of 2020 in both new construction and the important replacement sectors, but the strength of demand in the second half of the year brought new challenges to many parts of the plumbing products manufacturing sector, while distributor stocking policies had already disturbed demand patterns due to Brexit before the pandemic.

The central heating sector in particular faces major challenges as the government pursues a net zero emissions policy. Technological developments continue in new areas such as hydrogen-fuelled boilers, while there are other challenges related to the suitability of existing housing for more internationally established technologies such as heat pumps. Changes need to be rapidly adopted if the government’s emission targets are to be met, but financial incentives will also be needed for consumers to be persuaded to make emission-efficient decisions.

Sectors such as bathrooms and kitchens are mature but potential growth in new construction (some of which has been created by the chance to repurpose property in the wake of COVID-19) offers opportunities, while demand in the central heating sector is set for radical change over the next few years, offering an opportunity to bring forward replacement decisions.

Read on to discover more details or take a look at all of our UK Household, House and Home market research.

Quickly understand

  • How the extraordinary COVID-19-impacted first half of 2020 saw demand decimated, and why the recovery in the second half of the year was even stronger.
  • The major implications and challenges created by the government’s net zero targets for the central heating sector and how new technology is evolving.
  • The fragmentation of the bathroom product sectors, which extends to individual product sectors and purchase-decision influencers, giving rise to opportunities for consolidation.
  • The importance of branding within the varied market sectors.
  • The wide variety of influences on market demand and how they fluctuate.
  • Plumbing industry statistics UK.

Covered in this report

Plumbing Products: Boilers (commercial boilers), radiators (steel radiators, other radiators), heat controls, pumps, heat emitters, warm air heaters, radiant heaters, baths, sanitary ware, sinks, taps and mixers, showers, bathroom accessories.

Brands: Ideal Standard, Armitage Shanks, Sottini, Porcher, Ceramica Dolomite, Vidima, Rettig, Baxi, Ideal Boilers, Bosch Thermotechnology, Hortsmann, Pegler, Landis & Gyr, Geberit, Kohler Mira, Purmo Group UK, Resideo/Honeywell International, Vaillant Group, Mueller Europe/Mueller Industries, Genuit Group, Wavin.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

This report, written by Terry Leggett, a leading analyst in the Household sector, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

2020 saw an unprecedented decline in activity as restrictions were initially imposed. However, the government-introduced Stamp Duty holiday, combined with the low interest rates associated with COVID-19, caused hugely favourable conditions for plumbing products in the important replacement market in the second half of the year and the first half of 2021. These are now being phased out, and the market will return to more typical slow growth conditions. At the same time, the central heating sector will be subject to disruption from further government measures as carbon emissions become an increasing focus of attention.
Terry Leggett
Senior Analyst

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • Key issues covered in this Report
    • COVID-19: market context
    • Economic and other assumptions
    • Products covered in this Report
  2. Executive Summary

    • The impact of COVID-19 on plumbing products
      • Figure 1: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on plumbing products, 2021
    • The market
    • Market size and forecast
      • Figure 2: Market size and forecast for plumbing products, 2016-26
    • Bathrooms
      • Figure 3: Market size and forecast for bathroom based plumbing products, 2016-26
    • Kitchens
      • Figure 4: Market size and forecast for kitchen based plumbing products, 2016-26
    • Residential central heating
      • Figure 5: Market size and forecast for residential heating products, 2016-26
    • Commercial heating
      • Figure 6: Market size and forecast for commercial heating products, 2016-26
    • Companies and brands
    • A fragmented sector
    • Disrupted 2020 brings challenges
  3. Issues and Insights

    • COVID-19 and its unusual impact on plumbing products demand
    • So what is the future of central heating?
      • Figure 7: Comparative costs of central heating systems, 2021
      • Figure 8: Comparative costs of electric heating systems, 2021
      • Figure 9: Comparative financial and CO2 savings with biomass, 2021
  4. The Market – Key Takeaways

    • A ‘V’ shape recovery all in one year
    • Bathrooms
    • Kitchens
    • Central heating
    • Commercial markets
  5. Market Size and Performance

    • The impact of COVID-19 on plumbing products
      • Figure 10: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on plumbing products, 2021
    • An extreme reaction to COVID-19
      • Figure 11: Market for plumbing products, 2016-21
  6. Market Forecast

    • Recovery from COVID-19 varies between sectors
      • Figure 12: Quarterly change in savings ratio, 2016-21
      • Figure 13: Market forecast for the UK plumbing products, 2021-26
    • Market drivers and assumptions
      • Figure 14: Key drivers affecting MBD’s market forecast, 2015-25
    • Forecast methodology
  7. Market Segmentation – Overview

    • Fragmented product base
      • Figure 15: Segmentation of the plumbing products sector, 2021 (£ million)
  8. Market Segmentation- Commercial Heating

    • Background
    • The COVID-19 disruption
      • Figure 16: Market size of commercial heating products, 2016-2021
    • Product segmentation
      • Figure 17: Product segmentation of commercial heating products market, 2021 (£ million)
    • Market forecast
      • Figure 18: Forecast market size for commercial heating products, 2022-26
  9. Market Segmentation – Residential Heating

    • Market distortions
    • Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)
      • Figure 19: Accredited applications under the RHI, 2011-2021
    • Previous boiler scrappage schemes
    • Energy company obligations
    • 2020 – a year of two halves
      • Figure 20: Market size of residential heating products, 2016-2021
    • Product segmentation
      • Figure 21: Product segmentation for residential heating products, 2021
      • Figure 22: Residential heating system installations, by fuel type, 2021
    • Market forecast
      • Figure 23: Forecast market size for residential heating products, 2022-26
  10. Market Segmentation – Bathrooms

    • Market background
      • Figure 24: Material costs of bathrooms, 2021
    • The COVID-19 impact on 2020 and 2021
      • Figure 25: Market size of bathroom-based plumbing products, 2016-2021
    • Market segmentation
      • Figure 26: Market segmentation for bathroom products, 2021
    • Product segmentation
      • Figure 27: Product segmentation of bathroom products, 2021
    • Market forecast
      • Figure 28: Forecast market size for bathroom-based plumbing products, 2022-26
  11. Market Segmentation – Kitchens

    • Market background
      • Figure 29: International comparison of UK average house sizes
      • Figure 30: Average costs of kitchen sinks, by type, 2021
    • COVID-19 impacted 2020
      • Figure 31: Market size of kitchen-based plumbing products, 2016-2021
    • Segmentation
      • Figure 32: Segmentation of kitchen plumbing products, 2021 (£ million)
    • Market forecast
      • Figure 33: Forecast market size for kitchen-based plumbing products, 2022-26
  12. Market Drivers

    • Overview
    • New housebuilding
      • Figure 34: Housing completions in England, by sector, 1978-2020
      • Figure 35: Housebuilding expenditure, 2015-25
      • Figure 36: Segmentation of housebuilding expenditure, by sector, 2015-25
    • The housing stock
    • The total stock
      • Figure 37: Number of UK households, 1991-2020
    • Geographic distribution
      • Figure 38: UK housing stock, by region, 2020
    • Factors impacting investment decisions
    • Interest rates
      • Figure 39: Bank rate, by date of adjustment, 2008-21
    • House prices
      • Figure 40: House price inflation, Jan 2006-May 2021
    • Housing transactions
      • Figure 41: Residential property transactions in the UK, by country, 2006-2021 (number)
      • Figure 42: Monthly residential property transactions in the UK, 2019-June 2021
    • Tenure
      • Figure 43: Home ownership levels in the UK, 2006-20
      • Figure 44: Relationship between public and private home rental in England, 2001-20
      • Figure 45: The impact of housing tenure on bathroom facilities, 2019
      • Figure 46: The impact of housing tenure on kitchen replacements, 2019
      • Figure 47: The impact of housing tenure on heating methods, 2019
    • Property type and size
      • Figure 48: Composition of UK housing stock, by type of property, 2017
      • Figure 49: The impact of housing type on bathroom facilities, 2019
      • Figure 46: The impact of housing type on kitchen replacements, 2019
      • Figure 51: The impact of housing type on heating methods, 2019
    • Home improvement activity
      • Figure 52: Home improvements identified as still needed, 2019/20
    • Trade refurbishment – public housing
      • Figure 53: Public housing R&M expenditure, 2015-25
    • Trade refurbishment – private housing
      • Figure 54: Private housing R&M expenditure, 2015-25
    • DIY activity
      • Figure 55: DIY retail store sales, 2015-2021
    • Non-residential applications
      • Figure 56: New construction activity in selected public and private commercial and industrial sectors, 2015-21 (£ billion)
  13. Companies and Brands – Key Takeaways

    • Major impact of COVID-19
    • Extreme fragmentation
    • Branding
  14. Industry Structure

    • Plumbing
      • Figure 57: Development of plumbing and heat and air-conditioning installing companies, 2015-2019
      • Figure 58: Structure of the plumbing and heat and air-conditioning installation industry, 2019
    • The heating industry
      • Figure 59: Development of the central heating radiators and boilers industry, 2015-20
    • Bathroom products
      • Figure 60: Development of the ceramic bathroom products industry, 2015-20
      • Figure 61: Development of the other fabricated metal products industry, 2015-20
      • Figure 62: Development of the other plastic building products industry, 2015-20
    • Kitchen furniture
      • Figure 63: Development of the kitchen furniture industry, 2015-20
  15. Competitive Strategies

    • Dealing with the COVID-19 disruption
    • Market consolidation
    • Constant innovation/product launches
    • Material substitution
    • Branding
  16. Company Profiles

    • Bathroom products
    • Geberit
      • Figure 64: Turnover development of Geberit,
      • Figure 65: Turnover breakdown of Geberit, 2020
      • Figure 66: Turnover segmentation of Geberit, by activity, 2020
    • Ideal Standard (UK)
      • Figure 67: Financial performance of Ideal Standard (UK), 2015-19 (£ 000)
    • Kohler Mira
      • Figure 68: Financial performance of Kohler Mira, 2015-19 (£ 000)
    • Norcros
      • Figure 69: Financial performance of Norcros, 2017-21 (£ million)
      • Figure 70: Segmentation of UK revenues of Norcros, 2021
    • Heating
    • Purmo Group UK – previously Rettig (UK)
      • Figure 71: Financial performance of Purmo Group UK, 2015-19 (£ 000)
    • Resideo/Honeywell International
      • Figure 72: Financial performance of Resideo, 2018-20 (US$ million)
    • Vaillant Group
      • Figure 73: Financial performance of Vaillant Group UK, 2015-19 (£ 000)
    • Fittings and pipes
    • Mueller Europe/Mueller Industries
      • Figure 74: Financial performance of Mueller Europe, 2015-19 (£ million)
    • Genuit Group (formerly Polypipe Group)
      • Figure 75: Financial performance of Genuit Group, 2016-20 (£ million)
      • Figure 76: Turnover segmentation of Genuit Group, by market, 2020
    • Wavin
      • Figure 77: Financial performance of Wavin, 2015-19 (£ million)
  17. Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

  18. Appendix: Central Forecast Methodology

    • Market forecast and prediction intervals
      • Figure 78: Plumbing product market forecasts, by sector, 2021-26
    • Market drivers and assumptions
      • Figure 79: Key drivers affecting MBD’s market forecast, 2021-26

About the report

This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.


Mintel provides a range of market information, frequently through the category level, including market size and forecasting, complete with market drivers that illustrate the forces that shape a category or market.


Mintel’s proprietary consumer research provides our analysts with the attitudinal and behavioral data used to provide valuable insight to topical issues.


Mintel provides overviews of the top brands and manufacturers, and uses consumer research to explore attitudes and reactions to brands, as well as insight into what will resonate with consumers.


Market reports provide appendices of data to support the research and insight produced. Our databooks* are easily manipulated and downloadable to support your research needs and covers factors from consumer attitudes to market forecasts.

*databooks not available with UK B2B Industry reports.

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