Ironmongery product sales with UK builders merchants saw a 2.6% increase in Q2 2017 from Q1, and a 5.7% increase in value from Q2 2016, making it one of the fastest growing product categories in the UK, according to the Builders Merchants Building Index.
Growth in the ironmongery sector signifies a growth in project-driven categories, such as new door and window fittings, and upgrades of locks and hinges. With Home Renovation spend having reached €1.5 billion by the end of July 2017, the market is seeing an increase in residential renovations, guided by improving consumer confidence. An expanding base of DIYers is also seeing a spurt in demand for door hardware and accessories, such as handles, high-end mechanical locks and durable deadbolts, as revealed in the Global Industry Analysts, Inc.’s ‘Builders and Cabinet Hardware – a Global Strategic Business Report’.
New techniques and designs
A growing interest in aesthetically superior and attractive fixtures for doors and windows means new opportunities for manufacturers, and is resulting in growing changes in production techniques and product designs, such as environmentally friendly finishes and coatings. Safety is also key, and innovations in latch and lockset systems have gained momentum in the global market, with growing demand for tamper-proof solutions. The same report estimates that the global market for builders’ and cabinet hardware is projected to exceed $19.4 billion by 2022, driven by recovering construction activity in most countries (including Ireland) across the world, as evidenced by rising investments in residential and commercial property construction.
Corry’s launch category-management system
Despite being one of the hardware categories that enjoys higher-margin returns, ironmongery is an area in many stores that gets the least attention. A spokesperson for Corry’s Ironmongery, outlines the issues: “Historically, there have been a number of suppliers who can offer some of the required ranges but do not offer a complete package. As a result, there may be duplication of products, different packaging types in the same section (which may not be very appealing aesthetically) and also the hassle of dealing with two, three or four suppliers for one product range. This can lead to an increase in paperwork resulting in additional costs. At Corry’s, we have the solution for these problems.
“We have just launched our new colour-coordinated, category-management system. This new system ensures products are grouped and merchandised into different categories that will be easily identifiable to both the store staff and consumers. This is particularly important in modern hardware stores, where aesthetics and layout are viewed as key contributors to a consumer’s behaviour.” This new system is intended to replace the pull-drawer system but, if stores prefer, they can continue to store the product in the new packaging in the bins. Where stores prefer to move to hanging products, the new packaging is designed to maximise the peg-board space available, with the provision of different bag sizes to suit the different product types, thus maximising return on investment.
In addition to ironmongery, Corry’s also provides prepacked electrical accessories (also colour-coordinated) to complement the range. The Corry’s spokesperson added: “With this new colour-coordinated, category-management system, Corry’s Ironmongery can be your one-stop supplier for all your light and heavy prepacked ironmongery and prepacked electrical accessories.”
Know the relevant standards
There are a number of products which fall under the scope of harmonised standards as per the table below, so always ensure any product you are specifying which is to be installed on a fire or escape door and which falls under the scope of this standard is CE marked, and has the correct documentation in terms of its Declaration of Performance (DoP).
The Guild of Architectural Ironmongers (GAI) provides a site specifically for members to create their own DoPs through the technical members’ area. The GAI Technical Guide to the CPR no.5 publication is available on www.gai.org.uk which provides further clarification on those standards which are harmonised.