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UK Plumbing market report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

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

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Covered in this report

For the purposes of this report, the UK domestic central heating market has been defined as follows:

  • Boilers
  • Radiators
  • Heat Controls
  • Pumps

The UK commercial heating market has been defined as follows:

  • Commercial Boilers
  • Steel Radiators
  • Other Radiators
  • Heat Emitters
  • Warm Air Heaters
  • Radiant Heaters

The UK bathroom and sanitary ware market has been defined as follows:

  • Baths
  • Sanitary ware
  • Sinks
  • Taps & Mixers
  • Showers
  • Bathroom Accessories

The UK tubes, pipes and fittings market for plumbing has been defined as follows:

  • Copper Tube
  • Copper Fittings
  • Plastic Pressure Pipes & Fittings
  • Plastic Non-Pressure Pipes & Fittings

What you need to know

Plumbing products are significantly dependent on the R&M market, supported by demand from new construction activity and in the case of central heating products, legislation and government policy. The market traverses the residential market through to significant commercial applications, with hotel builds and refurbishments a significant source of demand for bathroom products. The residential R&M market is strongly affected by house price inflation, which encourages householders to view expenditure as an investment.

Bathrooms and kitchens tend to be big ticket investments, so the market is also impacted by interest rate changes. House price inflation also encourages house moving activity, which is a significant issue for the plumbing products sector, with both kitchens and bathrooms seen as major lifestyle statements.

UK house sizes are very small by international comparison. This affects the choice of plumbing products, particularly in bathrooms, where en-suite facilities are often placed in confined areas. Another impact of this more confined space is the move to open plan living, combining the kitchen, eating area and living area, with no dividing wall. This accentuates the importance of the kitchen’s appearance as every visitor now sees the room.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Terry Leggett, a leading analyst in the B2B sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Plumbing products are highly reliant on the R&M market, though new construction growth is also boosting demand and legislation is a determinant in the heating sectors. Against these positive influences, increases to interest rates and the potential for house price inflation/moving activity to dampen following Brexit will reduce the level of market growth. Terry Leggett
Senior B2B Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Steady growth
              • Figure 1: The market for plumbing products, 2013-17
            • Different influences in different sectors
              • Figure 2: Segmentation of the plumbing products market, 2017 (£ million)
            • Central heating – government intervention distorts demand pattern
              • Figure 3: Residential heating market, 2013-17
            • Commercial heating – different influences
              • Figure 4: Commercial heating market, 2013-17
            • Bathroom products – a buoyant sector
              • Figure 5: Bathroom products market, 2013-17
            • Kitchens – growth continuing
              • Figure 6: Kitchen plumbing product sales, 2013-17
            • Tubes and pipes – material changes
              • Figure 7: Tubes and Pipes market, by type, 2013-17
            • Major market drivers
              • Market prospects
                • Figure 8: Forecast plumbing products market, 2018-22
              • Companies and brands
                • A highly international set of sectors
                  • What we think
                  • Issues and Insights

                    • Climate change targets slipping
                      • The facts
                        • The implications
                          • The Brexit issue
                            • The facts
                              • The implications
                              • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                • R&M dominates the market
                                  • Central heating – the exception
                                    • New build – only buoyant by recent comparison
                                      • Figure 9: UK private sector housing completions, 1978-2017
                                  • Market Size

                                    • A growing market
                                      • Figure 10: The market for plumbing products, 2013-17
                                  • Market Segmentation – Overview

                                    • Many separate markets
                                      • Figure 11: Segmentation of the plumbing products market, 2017 (£ million)
                                  • Market Segmentation – Domestic Central Heating

                                    • Government policy is an important market driver
                                        • Figure 12: Residential heating market, 2013-17
                                      • Market segmentation
                                        • Product segmentation
                                          • Figure 13: Product segmentation in the domestic central heating market, 2017 (£ million)
                                      • Market Segmentation – Commercial Heating

                                        • Steady growth
                                          • Figure 14: Commercial heating market, 2013-17
                                        • Product segmentation
                                          • Figure 15: Segmentation of the commercial heating products market, 2017 (£ million)
                                          • Figure 16: Main heating fuel for non-domestic buildings, 2011-15
                                      • Market Segmentation – Bathrooms

                                        • A buoyant market
                                          • Figure 17: Bathroom products market, 2013-17
                                        • Market segmentation
                                          • Figure 18: Market segmentation bathroom equipment, 2017
                                        • Product segmentation
                                          • Figure 19: Product segmentation bathroom equipment, 2017
                                          • Figure 20: Product segmentation sanitary ware/toilet ware, 2017 (£ million)
                                          • Figure 21: Product segmentation showers and shower enclosures, 2017 (£ million)
                                          • Figure 22: Product segmentation bathroom accessories, 2017 (£ million)
                                      • Market Segmentation – Kitchens

                                        • A growth market
                                            • Figure 23: Kitchen furniture sales, 2012-17
                                          • Plumbing products
                                            • Figure 24: Kitchen plumbing product sales, 2013-17
                                        • Market Segmentation – Tubes and Pipes

                                          • Copper and plastic
                                              • Figure 25: Tubes and Pipes market, by type, 2013-17
                                          • Market Forecast

                                            • The market prospects
                                                • Figure 26: Forecast plumbing products market, 2018-22
                                              • Market segmentation
                                                  • Figure 27: Forecast segmentation of plumbing products market, 2018-22
                                              • The Impact of the Economy

                                                • GDP
                                                  • Figure 28: UK GDP quarterly development, by sector, 2004-18
                                                  • Figure 29: Forecast GDP development, 2017-22
                                                • Interest rates
                                                  • House prices
                                                    • Figure 30: Annual house price rates of change, by type of property, 2006-18
                                                • Market Trends

                                                  • Kitchens and bathrooms – a lifestyle statement
                                                    • Declining property sizes
                                                      • Figure 31: Average house sizes, 1930-2018
                                                      • Figure 32: Average Room sizes, 1930-2018
                                                    • En-suite
                                                      • Fashion trends
                                                        • Kitchens
                                                          • Bathrooms
                                                          • Market Drivers

                                                            • Housing stock
                                                              • Figure 33: UK households, 1991-2017 (million)
                                                            • Home ownership
                                                              • Figure 34: UK home ownership, 2006-17
                                                            • Housing transactions
                                                              • Figure 35: Residential property transactions, by country, 2013-17 (000 dwellings)
                                                            • New housebuilding
                                                              • Figure 36: New Housebuilding construction activity 2013-17 Actual and 2018-22 forecast
                                                            • New public non-residential
                                                              • Figure 37: Public non-residential new construction activity 2013-17 Actual and 2018-22 forecast
                                                              • Figure 38: Segmentation of new public non-residential construction, 2013-17 (£ million)
                                                            • New private industrial
                                                              • Figure 39: Private industrial new construction activity 2013-17 Actual and 2018-22 forecast
                                                              • Figure 40: Segmentation of new private industrial construction, 2013-17 (£ million)
                                                            • New private commercial
                                                              • Figure 41: Private commercial new construction activity 2013-17 Actual and 2018-22 forecast
                                                              • Figure 42: Segmentation of new private commercial construction, 2013-17 (£ million)
                                                          • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                            • Major brands – discreet sectors
                                                              • An international industry
                                                                • Complex distribution
                                                                • Industry Structure

                                                                  • Plumbing
                                                                    • Figure 43: Development of companies in plumbing and heat and air conditioning installation, 2012-17
                                                                    • Figure 44: Structure of the companies in the plumbing and heat and air conditioning installation industry, 2017 (Number of Businesses)
                                                                    • Figure 45: Segmentation of work undertaken in the plumbing and heat and air conditioning installation industry, by number of employees, 2017 (£ million)
                                                                  • Heating
                                                                      • Figure 46: Structure of the central heating radiators and boilers industry, 2013-17
                                                                    • Bathroom products
                                                                      • Figure 47: Structure of the ceramic sanitary fixture industry, 2013-17
                                                                      • Figure 48: Structure of the other fabricated metal products industry, 2013-17
                                                                      • Figure 49: Structure of the other plastic building products industry, 2013-17
                                                                    • Kitchen furniture
                                                                      • Figure 50: Structure of the kitchen furniture industry, 2013-17
                                                                  • Competitive Strategies

                                                                    • Bathroom fixtures – international production, local brands
                                                                      • Branding also strong in heating
                                                                        • Acquisitions
                                                                          • Norcros buys Merlyn
                                                                            • Legacy material substitution
                                                                              • The Polypipe strategy
                                                                              • Company Profiles

                                                                                • Bathroom fixtures
                                                                                  • Heating
                                                                                    • Fittings and pipes
                                                                                    • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                        • Abbreviations
                                                                                          • Methodology
                                                                                          • Further Sources and Contacts

                                                                                            • Trade associations
                                                                                              • Trade magazines
                                                                                                • Trade events