CPA’s State of Trade Survey finds “split in performance” in 2023

The Construction Products Association reports that in its latest State of Trade Survey that 67% of heavy side and 64% of light side manufacturers cited “demand” as the key concern for sales.

The survey found that in 2023 Q2, a balance of 47% of heavy side manufacturers reported that sales of construction products decreased and 29% of light side manufacturers reported that product sales increased.

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Rebecca Larkin, CPA head of construction research, said: “The mixed fortunes for heavy side and light side sales growth perfectly illustrates the areas of strength and weakness that are appearing in construction right now. Heavy side sales have no doubt been hindered by the sharp slowdown in new house building and hold-ups in starting large new build commercial and factories projects.

“Weak economic growth, two years of rapid cost inflation since projects were first given the go-ahead and uncertainty in the housing market following the Bank of England’s steep path of interest rate rises combine with the declines in new orders in these sectors at the start of the year to constrain demand for the heavy side products that are used for early and structural works.”

The survey also showed, that 14% of heavy side manufacturers anticipated a fall in sales over the next 12 months; 46% of light side manufacturers anticipated a rise.

“Conversely, interior refurbishments of offices and retail, as well as public sector energy efficiency retrofit, are in full swing and are driving demand for light side products,” added Larkin.

Costs rose over the past year for 50% of heavy side manufacturers and 54% of firms on the light side; both were the lowest balances in three years, as the split in performance in the construction product manufacturing industry continues.

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