The Commerce Department’s release of the September retail sales report showed that the market remained strong for building materials retailers, with a monthly increase of more than 1% between August and September. After two months of declines, the rise in sales was welcome news to the building materials distributors. This increase in sales was due to a number of factors, key among them:
- continuing homeowner interest in DIY home improvements, necessitating many trips to big box retailers, hardware stores, and other home garden and improvement centers.
- increases in single-family housing completions as builders looked to complete homes for sale
- the landfall of Hurricane Laura, which boosted demand for plywood, fasteners, and other materials sued to secure buildings and repair structures damaged by high winds, excessive moisture, and impacts
For the year, retail sales by building materials distributors are up nearly 13% over last year, reflective of:
- levels of purchases of building materials, especially among homeowners looking to finish home improvement projects
- increases in severe weather (especially in the coastal regions of the South) due to above average activity in hurricanes and tropical storms
- sharp growth in the price of lumber and other wood-based building materials due to the nationwide shortage of these products (a subject frequently chronicled on this blog)
Going forward, continuing consumer interest in DIY projects will continue to support sales at building materials retailers. However, as summer turns to autumn and then to winter, building construction activity slows, which could negatively affect sales in this segment. Freedonia experts will continue to monitor retail sales at building materials distributors and other retailers to discern future trends in economic activity.
For more information and discussion of opportunities, see The Freedonia Group’s extensive collection of off-the-shelf research, particularly in the Construction and Building Products. Freedonia also offers an expanding catalog of COVID-19 Economic Impact reports, which highlight how various industries are responding to the current crisis with a comparison to recent recessions. Freedonia Custom Research is also available for questions requiring tailored market intelligence.