Plumbing in the US Industry Market Research Report Now Available from IBISWorld

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During the recession, the poor housing and nonresidential construction markets had a direct and adverse effect on plumbers, causing declines in the industry's revenue. Demand will recover over the next five years as credit conditions soften and residential construction rises. In addition, rising consumer spending will encourage businesses and homeowners to spend on plumbing services. For these reasons, industry research firm IBISWorld has updated its report on the Plumbing industry.

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Renewed residential construction markets will heighten demand for plumbers

From unclogging household drains to installing high-pressure industrial steam pipes, the Plumbing industry's activities span a wide range of liquid and gas-conveying pipe work. Contractors in the industry hold specific licenses and qualifications to install, service and repair all types of pipes and drainage systems (e.g. faucets, ovens and toilets) for the catchment and distribution of water, liquids, gases and waste products. The industry is one of many subcontracting industries essential to the residential and nonresidential building markets, and plumbers are needed both to install systems for new construction and to repair and maintain the systems of existing structures, says IBISWorld industry analyst Matthew MacFarland. Because the industry's performance is so closely linked to building markets and consumer spending (which determines the extent to which households renovate kitchens and bathrooms), the housing market's collapse and ensuing recession crippled industry demand from 2007 to 2010. Although the industry benefits from steadier demand for long-term facilities maintenance and repairs (e.g. burst pipes or clogged drains), which consumers generally cannot put off, growth in the industry's pool of customers stagnated as new building construction faltered. At the same time, declining per capita disposable income reduced household spending on home improvements, cutting into demand for plumbing renovations and upgrades. Although the construction markets' slow recovery since 2011 has helped the industry return to growth, including expected growth of 4.0% in 2012, four consecutive years of contraction have led industry revenue to fall at an annualized rate of 4.8% during the past five years to reach $85.8 billion.
The Plumbing industry has a very low level of market share concentration. The industry is characterized by many small-scale establishments competing in narrow regional and local markets. The relative ease with which a new contractor can enter the industry, along with the highly localized nature of the business, makes it difficult to establish a national presence in the industry and capture a large share of revenue, says MacFarland. Furthermore, much plumbing work is subcontracted as a part of a larger construction project, and a single venture can make use of a number of sole proprietors. While many plumbers have an established reputation within their own city or area, operators rarely have the need to pool their resources to form partnerships or larger firms.
During the next five years, strong rebounds across the downstream construction markets and gradual overall economic recovery are forecast to bolster the industry, helping it surpass its prerecession size by 2017. Single-family home construction is anticipated to skyrocket as pent-up housing demand is released and lending conditions soften; commercial construction is anticipated to grow strongly as rising consumer spending encourages businesses to expand their facilities. As a result of these trends, industry revenue is forecast to rise during the next five years. For more information, visit IBISWorld’s Plumbing in the US industry report page.

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IBISWorld industry Report Key Topics

Industry contractors install and maintain plumbing fixtures, fittings and equipment. Industry activities include work on household pipes and drains, installation of gas cooking and heating appliances, and work on bathroom and toilet fixtures and venting systems. Emergency repair work (e.g. unclogging drains or repairing burst water mains) represents a significant source of industry revenue. Contractors may also supply plumbing appliances, pipes and coupling products for projects.

Industry Performance
Executive Summary
Key External Drivers
Current Performance
Industry Outlook
Industry Life Cycle
Products & Markets
Supply Chain
Products & Services
Major Markets
Globalization & Trade
Business Locations
Competitive Landscape
Market Share Concentration
Key Success Factors
Cost Structure Benchmarks
Barriers to Entry
Major Companies
Operating Conditions
Capital Intensity
Key Statistics
Industry Data
Annual Change
Key Ratios

About IBISWorld Inc.
Recognized as the nation’s most trusted independent source of industry and market research, IBISWorld offers a comprehensive database of unique information and analysis on every US industry. With an extensive online portfolio, valued for its depth and scope, the company equips clients with the insight necessary to make better business decisions. Headquartered in Los Angeles, IBISWorld serves a range of business, professional service and government organizations through more than 10 locations worldwide. For more information, visit or call 1-800-330-3772.

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Gavin Smith
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