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Vast Majority of Construction and Construction Material Managers Expect 30% Higher Construction Costs This Year

Managers in the construction industry are not very optimistic about the near future. 53% of managers in the construction industry think that construction volume in Europe will decline this year and next. In contrast, only 9% are optimistic and believe the construction industry will grow, according to a study by Interconnection Consulting.

Two-thirds of the 208 construction and construction material managers surveyed in Europe do not expect the construction industry to stabilise or normalise until 2024 or later. This year, 67% of the experts surveyed expect increases in construction costs of 30% or more. More than one-third say input costs will even increase by more than 50% this year. “Managers are also not at all confident that they will be able to pass on the increased costs entirely to their customers,” explains Jan Hudak, the author of the study. 55% of the respondents believe that sales prices will not increase by more than 25% this year. As many as a quarter of the respondents believe that prices will only rise by up to 15%.

Widespread Labour Shortage

The shortage of skilled labour, which is causing major problems for more and more companies in Europe, especially in industry, is a focal point for companies alongside price increases. For as many as one-third of the managers, the labour shortage is a recognisable problem for their company. For 13% of the companies surveyed, the labour shortage is even critical, meaning that orders are delayed or cannot be accepted at all as a result. On the other hand, 12% of the companies state that they have no problems with skilled workers or labour shortages.

Inflation Rate and Wage Increases

About half of the construction companies expect wages to increase by 8 to 12% during the current year. Another 35% believe that wage increases will be even higher. These expected wage increases depend on regional inflation. The inflation rate in the EU was 10.1% in August. However, there were large differences within the EU countries. In France the inflation rate was 6.6% in Estonia the inflation rate was 25.2%.

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Price Rise Slows Stronger Growth in Liquid Waterproofing

The market for liquid waterproofing did not decline as much as expected during the pandemic. The following years will be characterised by a strong catch-up process, but this will be curbed by a high price increase. In 2022, for example, the market will grow by 22.6% in value, while sales will increase by only 4.9%, according to a new study by Interconnection Consulting.

The sharp rise in prices will weigh on market growth in the coming years. The high price increases will also shift consumer preference towards cheaper product segments. “Therefore, at least in some countries, such as Italy and Poland, there are already increasing market shares for cement as well as bitumen products, which are cheaper than other variants,” says Giacomo Tomada, the author of the study. However, liquid polymer waterproofing will, in contrast, decline in market share. In 2021, this segment accounted for 37.9%, making it the strongest product segment followed by bitumen at 29.4% and cement 20.4% in volume. In value terms, the share was as high as 68.9% due to the higher price of liquid polymer waterproofing. This form of waterproofing is most popular in France, Germany, the UK and Switzerland. In Italy, on the other hand, cement takes the largest share with around 43%. The renovation segment is a stronger sales market than the new construction segment with 55.3%.

Germany Dominates the Market

With about 20.8% in volume, Germany is by far the largest market for liquid waterproofing in Europe. The market value in Germany is € 544 million. Poland follows in second place, with a share of 12.1% due to strong construction activity. This is then followed by the United Kingdom with 7.9%. The fastest growing markets are Spain, Turkey and Italy, which show an average growth of 7.6%, 7.3% and 6.8% annually until 2025. The stronger growth is mainly due to the poorer market performance in these countries during the COVID pandemic and, in the case of the UK, the poor performance at the beginning of the Brexit. Russia is the only country with a negative performance until 2025 (CAGR -2.2% in volume), due to sanctions and the related economic crisis.

Diversification Pays Off

Competition in the industry is very high, especially among the market-leading companies, but there is still enough room for smaller companies. During the pandemic, it was evident that companies with strong diversification, both in terms of products and markets, were the most successful in weathering the storm, in many cases even avoiding declining sales. Some of the most important companies are Triflex, Sika, Mapei, StoCretec, Soprema, Weber, Remmers, Evonik, BASF and MC Bauchemie.

The study examined the following markets: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, Rest of Europe.

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