The third quarter appears to point to a return to normal seasonal trends, with the traditional “heating season” giving plumbing and heating specialty merchants a jump in sales.
The latest Plumbing and Heating Trade Index report, published in November, showed that the total value of sales through specialized plumbing and heating merchants increased by 10.8% in the third quarter of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021.
In keeping with the trend seen throughout the year, this double-digit growth was driven by price inflation (+10.5%) and not sales volume (+0.3%) which remained flat. With one less trading day this year, comparable comparable sales are up 12.5%.
On a quarterly basis, Q3 2022 sales increased by 9.1% compared to Q2 2022. Both sales volume (+6.8%) and prices (+2.2%) increased. With four additional trading days in the most recent period, comparable sales were similarly up 2.3%.
Year-to-date value sales January-September 2022 were +7.1% higher than the same period in the previous year. With two trading days down so far this year, sales on a like-for-like basis were up 8.2%.
Plumbing and Heating Merchant sales in the 12 months to September 2022 were +3.0% higher than the same period a year earlier (October 2020 to September 2021). Sales volume decreased by -4.9% while prices increased by +8.3%. With two fewer trading days in the most recent period, comparable sales were similarly up 3.8%.
September 2022 sales were +9.1% higher than the same month last year, but sales volume decreased -3.0% with price inflation +12.4%. With one less trading day this year, like-for-like sales are up 14.3%.
On a monthly basis, the total value of sales through specialty plumbing and heating merchants was 8.3% higher in September than in August. With a less recent trading day, sales on a like-for-like basis were still 13.5% higher.
The PHMI for September 2022 was 103.5 with no difference on trading days.
Mike Rigby, CEO of MRA Research, which produces the report, said: “What we’re seeing in the third quarter appears to point to a return to normal seasonal trends, with the traditional ‘heating season’ giving plumbing and heating specialty dealers a jump in sales.
“Double-digit year-over-year growth looks fantastic given the country’s economic outlook and record decline in consumer confidence, so it’s not surprising to find that growth is primarily a result of inflation as volumes remain flat.
However, it finished the third quarter on a more robust month-over-month basis with nominal volume growth in September. A series of pessimistic assessments from homebuilders about the prospects for the housing market as rising mortgage rates and a cost-of-living crisis fueled cancellations and people put their dreams on hold lowered building expectations.
“The RM&I business has languished in the mid-budget segments as the affordability crisis forces younger, less affluent homeowners to prioritize spending, but mainly older homeowners who have paid off their mortgages or are about to do so are still spending.
“And there is still a huge amount of savings to be spent that has been accrued during the pandemic. Both energy and water saving products are expected to benefit as landlords seek to reduce bills while also improving energy efficiency and increasing water efficiency.”
PHMI is the first to analyze point of sale data collected from specialist plumbing and heating merchants with combined annual sales of £3 billion, to chart their performance per month.
The PHMI data is from GfK’s Plumbing & Heating Merchant Panel, which accounts for more than 70% of sales to Britain’s specialist plumbing and heating merchants. PHMI is a brand of the Trade Builders Association, and the reports are produced by MRA Research. There is no overlap or double counting between the Building Merchants Index and PHMI and Builders Merchants sales data.
To download the latest report, visit www.phmi.co.uk.