Study shows trend towards direct sales in the European construction industry

According to a recent study by Bau-Info-Consult, contractors are increasingly buying directly from manufacturers. The trend is particularly strong in Germany, Italy and Spain.
Background: In the construction industry, three-tier sales models are the norm – in other words: the building materials industry sells its materials to the construction companies through building materials dealers. However, according to the study, there is increasing movement in the market. Recently, the market surveys of Bau-Info-Consult have repeatedly shown that contractors increasingly buy directly from the manufacturer – without the “detour” over the trade.
In the study, a total of 1,100 medium-sized and larger construction companies in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium and Poland were interviewed in telephone interviews about their current shopping behavior. Although it became clear that general building materials and specialized retailers continue to dominate shopping behavior, nine out of ten of the building contractors surveyed are still buying from specialist retailers. However, direct sales via the manufacturer are also being actively used. Overall, according to the survey, 64 percent of European contractors also source part of their purchases directly from manufacturers. Especially the contractors in Germany, Italy and Spain are open to direct sales. In total, the surveyed construction companies in Europe purchase every third purchase of material directly from the producer – with the majority of orders (56 percent) being made by e-mail to the manufacturer’s distributor. But phone orders and contacts with a contact person from the field are also much used order paths when purchased from the manufacturer.
According to Bau-Info-Consult, this trend is likely to intensify in the future – and will also expand significantly in neighboring countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands. This was shown by the expectations of the surveyed construction companies, which shopping channels they want to use in the future. In the eight-country average, 18 percent of construction companies assume that they will buy more directly from manufacturers in the future than they currently do. According to the authors of the study, there are several reasons for this expectation: On the one hand, the digitization of work processes in the construction industry is progressing – making direct sales models even more attractive for manufacturers with standardized order, delivery and payment processes. On the other hand, the progressive digitization makes it easier for the processors, in addition to shopping on the retailer to tread other shopping. After all, e-mail ordering is now the most common form of ordering – whether it’s from manufacturers or from other channels in the study such as retailers. As a result, the connection to the retail store of the dealers has become smaller – and other forms of order such as the phone shopping or in the future much more likely to expect web shop purchases is open and door open.

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