The second edition of The Pulse, a series of monthly tracking surveys by MRA Research into merchants’ confidence and prospects, finds sales expectations have fallen compared to both the previous month, and the previous year, but market and business confidence among builders’ merchants remaining high. This edition looks at expectations and confidence in June 2019.
In June 2019, 54% of merchants expected sales to fall compared to May – lower than in the May survey when 68% expected sales to increase. In total, a net +50% thought sales would increase in June.
A lower percentage of merchants (net +49%) also thought sales would increase compared to June last year, in May this was +69% and as many as 76% had thought sales would increase.
Only a net +4% of merchants were more confident in June than they were in May. This was much lower than in May when that figure was 17%. However, the majority of merchants expected market conditions to be the same as in May.
A net +15% of merchants were more confident about the market in June than the same time last year – this was a little higher than in May when that percentage was 12%.
Among those that were more confident, the sentiment was very positive, and a number of respondents commented that market conditions appeared more favourable and that sales and activity had picked up recently. Many merchants also said they considered Brexit to be less of a worry than previously.
But of those who were less confident, around three quarters of respondents said it was due, at least in part, to Brexit and the continued uncertainty. Other reasons included the current economic climate, political uncertainty and increasing competition.
When asked about confidence in their business or branch, merchants even more positive than they were in May 2019. A net +43% of merchants said they were more confident now than they were the previous month (May) as almost half of merchants said they were more confident about their business prospects.
Compared to the same month last year, a net +48% of merchants were more confident about the prospects for their business or branch, with as many as 59% considering prospects to be better than a year ago. This was up compared with May, when the net figure +45%.
The Pulse is a monthly trends survey that tracks builders’ merchants’ confidence and prospects over time and is produced by MRA Research, the market research division of MRA Marketing. Find out more here and look out for the next report in the September edition of PBM!