The Association of Swedish Building Materials Merchants
(Byggmaterialhandlarna) is a trade association formed in 2004. Our members are around 780 of Sweden’s building materials, hardware and paint retail companies.
Our mission is to monitor our industry, coordinate knowledge and information, and to safeguard the interests of our members and provide them with advice, legal support and information in the form of relevant statistics etc. We work actively on issues relevant to the industry, such as sustainability and IT, and we engage in projects to lobby the authorities and politicians.
Our main objective is to help position building materials merchants with suppliers, customers and in society, and thereby provide our members with the support they need to achieve positive growth in their own organisations at the same time as we, through cooperation and industry unity, develop our industry as a whole.
The Association of Swedish Building Materials Merchants’ vision is to make our trade market more attractive.
Blurring of sector lines
The blurring of sector lines is a significant phenomenon today. Merchants are constantly adapting their range of products according to customer demand. Today, merchants in our industry are selling plants, fabric and furniture.
In the past there was a clear line between building material, hardware and paint retailers, but those lines are now becoming blurred.
Number of companies
According to our own estimates there are currently just over 1,000 retailers in our sector in Sweden.
Net sales in the industry in 2015 were estimated at SEK 65 billion (excl. VAT). This includes building materials, hardware and paint products.
Consumers – trade customers
Retailers in our industry often sell to both private individuals and trade customers. But some companies have established a profile aimed at one of these two groups of consumers. In developing their business concepts they have essentially made a choice to specialise in, for example, industry players, while others have chosen to only market themselves to private consumers.
In our industry the largest percentage of net sales comes from selling to trade customers. They account for about 65 percent of net sales, while private consumers account for the remaining 35 percent. Large local deviations do, however, exist.
Also, a large percentage of the sales to, for example, local builders, are based on requests from consumers buying home remodelling services from the builders.
Most retailers are in a retail chain or some other form of sourcing partnership. Around 50 of our member companies have chosen to remain outside this form of cooperation.
The role of building materials merchants
We sell products that are in the same state as when we buy them. In other words, we do not add new “physical” value to them. On the other hand, we do add “soft” value, such as advanced solutions for logistics, service and know-how, installation and assembly services as well as broad and deep product offering.
Development – future
There has been strong growth in sales in the industry since 2000. A big factor in this is the so-called “Timell effect.” (Martin Timell is a Swedish carpenter and presenter of a DIY TV show). Almost all major TV channels today have some form of DIY show. This has increased interest in the products that our industry supplies and put more pressure on retailers. The industry has also seen a strong increase in online sales. Most chains today have efficient online sales solutions.
The Association of Swedish Building Materials Merchants has a positive view of the future development of our industry. The customer base is constantly growing and Swedish people are spending a large percentage of their disposable income on their homes. We do not see any signs that this behaviour will change. The great demand for new homes and the constant need to maintain existing buildings are other reasons for our optimism about the future. We also hope that the strong focus on our industry will lead to even more young people seeing this as an industry with great development opportunities and be encouraged to apply to become our future employees.