Plumbing & Heating price rises drive +2.6% Q3 value sales growth

The latest Plumbing & Heating Merchant Index (PHMI) report, published in November, shows total value sales through specialist Plumbing & Heating merchants were +2.6% higher in Q3 2023 compared to the same period in 2022 driven by (+5.8%) higher prices. Volumes fell -3.0%. There was no difference in trading days.

Quarter-on-quarter, Q3 2023 value sales were +1.4% ahead of Q2 2023. With four additional trading days in the most recent quarter, like-for-like sales dipped -4.9%. Volume sales edged up +1.6% while prices were marginally down (-0.2%).

Total value sales through specialist Plumbing & Heating merchants for October 2022 to September 2023 increased by +6.9% compared to the same 12-month period in the previous year, but volumes fell -1.2%. Prices increased +8.2%. There was no difference in trading days.

September 2023 value sales were down -2.6% on the same month a year ago. Volumes decreased by -7.0% while prices increased +4.8%.

Month-on-month, September value sales were up +2.6% against August while volume sales dropped -1.2%. With one less trading day in September, like-for-like value sales were +7.5% higher. Prices increased +3.9%.

The PHMI Index for September 2023 was 100.2.

Mike Rigby, CEO of MRA Research, which produces the report comments:

“House building has dropped to its lowest levels since Covid, and new home registrations in Q3 fell 53% year-on-year, according to the National House Building Council. While ONS data suggests private housing repair and maintenance picked up in September (+3.0%), it’s still down -0.3% quarter-on-quarter.

“GfK’s UK Consumer Confidence indicator fell sharply to -30 in October 2023 from -21 in September, against expectations of a continuation of the improvements since the depths of September last year. But the high cost of living and economic uncertainties weighed on sentiment.”

The Plumbing & Heating Merchant Index (PHMI) is the first to analyse point of sales data collated from specialist plumbing & heating merchants with combined annual sales of £3bn, to chart their performance month-to-month.

The PHMI data is from GfK’s Plumbing & Heating Merchant Panel, which represents over 70% of Britain’s specialist plumbing & heating merchants’ sales. The PHMI is a brand of the Builders Merchants Federation, and reports are produced by MRA Research. There is no overlap or double counting between PHMI and Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) sales data.

To download the latest report visit