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Last year rounded off with a significant relaunch of the Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) report, now featuring builders’ merchants sales data to builders and trades people covering 92 percent of GB national sales, up from just over 80%.

Launched in 2015 as a brand of the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF), BMBI uses data from GfK’s ground-breaking Builders Merchants Panel, The panel captures generalist builders’ merchants’ sales throughout Great Britain to builders and trades people who are directly involved in repairing, maintaining, and improving Britain’s 27.7 million homes. The recent addition to the panel of Huws GrayJT Dove and CMO Stores, mean the data now tracks the sales of 92 percent of builders’ merchant branches making it the most accurate, comprehensive monitor of market performance available.

The monthly BMBI report is well used by merchants, their larger customers and suppliers and is used by construction generally. It has also caught the attention of companies and organisations outside of construction, who want to know what’s happening, what’s important and why. The why is provided by leading brands of building materials, components and software – the BMBI Experts – who make sense of the trends and issues for readers.

The website is regularly visited by economists and advisors, the national media, the big banks, big six accountants, management consultants, private equity investors, financial institutions and Government departments, anyone in fact who needs to know the trends and what is driving the trends in a complicated and fragmented industry.

Across the pond, readership is growing rapidly, and the BMBI website gets regular hits from the US Senate, US State Department, individual senators, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to name just a few.

“Since its inception in 2014 GfK’s Builders Merchants leaderpanel has become a key market barometer through its usage in the BMBI,” says Emile van der Ryst, Key Account Manager – Trade & DIY at GfK – an NiQ company. “It’s become a reference point for industry leaders, financial institutions, and government organisations.

“After a relaunch of the data in 2020 we are now pleased to announce the latest relaunch, which comes into effect with the October 2023 dataset. The key missing market contributor, Huws Gray, is included for the first time alongside CMO Stores and JT Dove, both well-known market players.

“This is an exciting new chapter for the service which we believe is a crucial step in providing a relevant and important view of the market, especially in these challenging economic conditions.”

Mike Rigby, Managing Director of MRA Research which produces the BMBI report says: “Once you track over 90% of builders’ merchants’ sales of building materials to builders and tradespeople the numbers are, practically speaking, the market itself, not an estimate or approximation of it. That’s a crucial distinction. It’s not like a survey or poll which takes a small slice of the market, which is intended to represent the market, and then scales up. However sound your sampling and rigorous your methodology, there’s a world of difference between scaling up from a small sample, and reporting on 92% of actual sales to the market.”

“The relaunch in the October BMBI report,” confirms BMF Chief Executive John Newcomb, “is a significant step forward in establishing reliable statistics across construction. The BMF’s Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) is the closest measure there is of Britain’s small builder and trades market, and the best proxy we have to the important residential RMI (Repair, Maintain, and Improve) market.

“BMBI is as accurate a measure of the market as it’s possible to get. That’s one reason we call GfK’s Builders Merchants leaderpanel, ‘gold standard’ data. And it’s why so many decision makers and influencers regularly spend so much time poring over the reports and video debates from the BMBI Experts on”