Since 2020, the building materials market, which encompasses structural products such as concrete, as well as finishing products such as insulation, has been growing in response to steady demand from the public works and residential construction sectors. Despite a historic decline, the market has experienced a resurgence, influenced by ecological concerns that have stimulated demand for environmentally-friendly materials.

France, for example, has seen a fluctuation in the number of companies in the industry, although the number of employees has generally fallen, no doubt due to digitization and the rationalization of tasks. At regional level, the south of France is home to a greater number of establishments than the north. The market is dominated by large multinationals with sales in excess of $49.3 billion, as well as other leading players from Ireland, Switzerland and Germany.

At national level, sales of UNICEM's various branches are up, and growth forecasts remain positive. Recycling efforts have been significant, with 70% of inert construction waste recycled and targets to increase this figure to 90%. Regulatory measures such as mandatory VOC labeling and declarations of conformity have had an impact on the market, pushing it towards sustainability. The global outlook suggests continued growth, with projections for the building materials market of $529.2 billion to 2025, driven in part by technological changes throughout the value chain, including digitization and automation.

Key trends in the building materials market

The country's building materials market is closely linked to the performance of the construction sector, which has shown signs of recovery. This upward trend is evident in the increased demand for housing construction, which remained robust with over 400,000 building sites. In addition, the construction of non-residential buildings took off strongly, with a growth rate of around 7%.

Another factor contributing to the evolution of this market is the environmental awareness running through the industry. There is a clear trend towards ecological and bio-sourced materials, which meet the needs of a growing segment that places a premium on sustainability. The public works sector underlines this trend, with growth of around 10% driven by local government investment. The green shift is not confined to the product offering, but extends to waste management practices, which are now tending towards recycling.

While the number of companies in France has varied over time, the number of jobs has steadily declined. On the other hand, sales trends reflect a dynamic market, with UNICEM reporting constant increases. Continued market development is supported by government infrastructure spending.

After a period of post-crisis stagnation, public investment in construction has rebounded, reaching a total of €220-240 billion. In addition, local authorities, responsible for over 40% of public works, played a key role in this recovery. Trade policies have shaped the building materials market, with France importing most of its building materials from European countries such as Spain, Italy, Germany and Belgium. Germany, which absorbs a significant share of France's building materials exports, is a key export partner. Regulations play a crucial role in this market. A decree requires construction and decoration materials to be labeled according to their levels of volatile organic compound emissions. Recently, manufacturers have been required to declare the environmental characteristics of their products, further accentuating the market's focus on sustainable practices.

Looking at the global context, the building materials industry is set for considerable growth, with significant gains forecast in notable regions, including the USA and various European territories. France, home to world leader Saint-Gobain, maintains a dominant global presence, encapsulating.

Profiles of key players in the building materials industry

  • Saint-Gobain: a titan of industry Saint-Gobain is a leading figure in the building materials market. Hailing from France, the company has earned a reputation for its diverse offering of building products, innovative materials and distribution. A world leader with a strong footprint, Saint-Gobain operates numerous sales outlets and factories, enabling it to have a significant impact on a global scale.

  • VICAT: VICAT is another French group which, although not as global as Saint-Gobain, is an integral part of the national market. Specializing in cement, aggregates and concrete, VICAT generates a significant proportion of its sales in France. The company has enjoyed positive growth over the years and remains a major player in the aggregation of construction products.

Presence and influence of multinationals

  • Major multinationals such as Ireland's HRC (Equiom) and Germany's HeidelbergCement are also present at the highest level of the sector. These companies have extensive production sites throughout France and boast considerable sales and profit margins, testifying to their solid presence in the European market.

Local generalists: Adapting and thriving

  • Samse, Point P, Brocot Dépot and Chausson Materials represent the heart of the local generalist players. By maintaining their market position through adaptability and comprehensive product ranges, these companies demonstrate resilience and sustained growth in a constantly evolving sector.

  • GEDEX and Tout Faire: the giants of distribution Major players in distribution, GEDEX and Tout Faire have carved out a place of choice. Their extensive networks and focus on customer needs have strengthened their position in the competitive landscape.

  • Larivière and LITT's specialized expertise Larivière, specializing in roofing materials, and LITT, specializing in interior decoration, are specialized players who have honed their expertise. Their recognized and appreciated skills address specific niches, enabling them to stand out as experts in their respective fields.

In a market dominated by innovation, sustainability and productivity, these major players in the building materials industry continue to adapt and evolve. They transform challenges into opportunities while shaping the infrastructure of our built environment.

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  • Number of pages : 30 pages
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  • Last update : 25/04/2023
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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Definition and scope of the study

The building materials market covers products for structural work (cement, concrete, sand, bricks, wood or glass panels, etc.) and finishing work (insulation, glass wool, mortar, clay tiles, ceilings, etc.).

Throughout the study, we will be looking at and distinguishing between the following product families:

  • raw wood
  • primary and secondary wood processing products
  • building materials (cement, sand, gravel, plaster, etc.)

The uses are varied and the demand sectors numerous: 89% of materials are destined for public works and building construction. This is a market that caters for two types of customer: professionals (building and civil engineering contractors or craftsmen) and private individuals.

According to the professional organization for the building materials and timber trade, the context is buoyant for the building materials market. Despite the downturn in the building sector, orders for structural work remain strong, generating 3.5% growth in sales for the building materials market in 2019.

The global market is forecast to grow at an annual rate of 5.53% over the period 2022-2030.growing ecological awareness is also influencing the building materials market, which is adapting by offering eco-materials or bio-sourced materials and turning to recycling.

1.2 The global market

Growth outlook:

The building materials industry generates an estimated global revenue of US$*,*** billion in ****, and is forecast to grow at an annual rate of *.**% over the period ****-**** .

Development of the global building materials market World, ****-****, in trillions of US dollars Source: ****

The global building materials market is expected ...

1.3 The domestic market

Unicem's data enable us to report on sales trends in its branches between **** and ****.

Unicem brings together the mineral extraction industries and manufacturers of construction materials (***). This trend therefore excludes non-mineral building materials, but remains fairly representative of the sector.

Between **** and ****, the market for Unicem's branches fluctuated in terms of ...

1.4 Foreign trade

Here we consider the following aggregate: C**B - Building materials and miscellaneous mineral products.

Foreign trade in production materials France, ****-****, millions of euros Source: ****

The trade balance for this sector is largely in deficit: exports do not cover imports.

Exports and imports of building materials increased in the same ...

2 Demand analysis

2.1 Demand for building materials largely dependent on the construction market

Demand for building materials depends largely on activity in the construction sector.

Annual production in the construction sector Europe **, ****-****, base *** in **** Source: ****

Between **** and ****, the production index for the construction industry in the European Union (***) and France has evolved differently. In the EU, the index rose from ** in **** to *** in ...

2.2 Public spending on infrastructure

Construction investment France, ****-****, billions of euros Source: ****

(***) Building construction includes real estate development.

Investment in construction stagnated after the **** crisis, and even declined between **** and ****. However, investment picked up again in ****. In fact, according toINSEE data, construction investment rose from *** billion euros in **** to *** billion euros in **** before reaching ...

3 Market structure

3.1 French production fabric

In this section, we consider the following aggregates:

**.**Z: Manufacture of plastic components for the construction industry **.**Z : Manufacture of concrete components for the construction industry **.**Z : Manufacture of plaster components for the construction industry **.**Z : Intermediaries in the wood and building materials trade **.**Z : Wholesale of timber and building ...

3.2 Geographical distribution of business in France

Breakdown of timber and building materials wholesale companies France, ****, number of companies Source: ****

The map above can be read by color intensity: darker areas indicate a high number of wood and building materials establishments in the region concerned. Conversely, the lighter areas indicate that the region in question has few such ...

3.3 Multinational players

Europe's leading manufacturers of building materials:

Source: ****

The Saint Gobain Group

A world leader in the building materials sector, the French Saint Gobain group also has a strong presence in France, with operations in ** countries. In ****, its worldwide sales will reach **.* billion euros, up **. *%. Saint Gobain employs ***,*** people.

By way of ...

3.4 A changing value chain

The value chain is divided into * stages

Extraction of raw materials Production of building materials Supply and installation Merchant distribution Development and construction

Each stage is subject to technological change:

Automation and robotization Digitization of construction *D printers E-commerce artificial intelligence and advanced data analysis across all business units.

Each of ...

4 Offer analysis

4.1 Product segmentation

Structural work/Second Oeuvre

A distinction is made between structural work and finishing work. Structural work consists of the load-bearing elements that contribute to the stability and solidity of the building. Finishing work is the covering of the framework.

Types of construction

Building materials are used for different types of construction, ...

4.2 Waste and recycling of building materials

Construction waste

With *** million tonnes of waste per year, the construction and public works sector is the biggest producer of waste in France. ** million tonnes of this *** million tonnes is attributable to the building sector. [***]

Waste from the public works and construction sectors comes from public (***). It is essential to treat ...

4.3 Biobased building materials

As the building sector is at the heart of the challenges of sustainable development, the bio-based materials sector has been identified by the French Ministry of Ecology as one of the green industries with the greatest potential for future economic development. This is partly due to its role in reducing our ...

5 Regulations

5.1 Regulations

Since ****, building and decorative materials in contact with indoor air have been subject to mandatory labeling. This is the application of Decree ****-*** of March **, ****, to inform consumers of the level of Volatile Organic Compound (***). Building contractors should therefore give preference to low-emission materials and products wherever possible.

Decree ****-**** obliges ...

6 Positioning the players

6.1 What are the forces at work?

  • Saint-Gobain Distribution Bâtiment
  • Chausson Matériaux
  • Larivière
  • LITT Diffusion (SIG Groupe)
  • K Line (Liébot groupe)
  • Rector Lesage
  • Tecnomat
  • Herige (ex VM Matériaux)
  • Lapeyre
  • Descours et Cabaud
  • Saint-Gobain Groupe
  • Vinci Groupe
  • Lafarge (Holcim Groupe)
  • Leroy Merlin France (Adeo)
  • Castorama France (Kingfisher)
  • Mr. Bricolage
  • ITM Equipement (Bricorama, Bricomarché, Brico Cash)
  • Brico Dépôt
  • Terreal Groupe (Wienerberger Group)
  • Alkern Groupe
  • Carrières de la Vallée Heureuse
  • Gedex Gedimat Gedibois
  • Lhoist Groupe
  • La Plateforme du Bâtiment (Saint-Gobain Groupe)
  • Point P (Saint-Gobain Groupe)
  • Bricoman
  • Vandersanden
  • Eiffage Construction
  • STO
  • Plattard
  • SAMSE Groupe
  • Dompro
  • Maison Bleue Beton

List of charts

  • Annual construction output
  • Breakdown by type of new build
  • Number of timber and building materials wholesalers
  • Number of intermediate wood and building materials trading companies
  • Number of employees in timber and building materials wholesaling
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Latest news

Carpenter K.Line turns up the heat in Spain - 28/03/2024
  • K.Line investment: 18 million euros for a new plant near Barcelona.
  • 2023 sales for K.Line in Spain: 19 million euros.
  • Current number of employees in Spain before new investment: 89
  • Group sales outside France: 120 million euros out of a total of 860 million euros
  • Total group sales with the addition of Germany's Pax: 930 million euros
  • Total number of group employees: 3,700, including 1,700 in the Les Herbiers stronghold.
  • Total number of group plants: 13
Castorama revises its formula in France to boost sales - 28/03/2024
  • - Castorama sales down 4.8%.
  • - Brico Dépôt sales down 7%.
  • - Total sales in France down by almost 6%.
  • - Strategies: modernization of stores, reduction of floor space by 30%, transition to franchising, and transfer to the Brico Dépôt banner.
  • - By 2024-2025, 13 units will be specifically affected (2 franchised, 1 will become Brico Dépôt, 7 relaunched, and 3 reduced in size).
  • - 15% of Castorama and Brico Dépôt sales are generated by major works (kitchens, bathrooms) linked to moves.
  • - Introduction of Screwfix in France, with 23 current stores, planned to reach 15 more by 2024 and 600 in the long term.
Mr.Bricolage expected to decline in 2023 - 14/03/2024
  • Mr.Bricolage group sales in 2023: 2.31 billion euros
  • In France, 902 stores generated sales of 1.96 billion euros in 2023
  • Number of stores by brand in 2023:
    • - Mr.Bricolage: 331 stores
    • - Les Briconautes: 101 stores
    • - Independent chains: 470 stores
  • Total number of stores at January 1, 2024: 1088 stores
Saint-Gobain ready to set up in Australia for 2.5 billion euros - 22/02/2024
  • Saint-Gobain proposes to acquire the entire capital of CSR
  • The CSR Group has some 40 production sites worldwide, around 130 sales outlets and 2,800 employees.
  • CSR's total revenues for the 2022-2023 financial year amounted to A$2.6 billion.
  • By 2022, North America and emerging markets already accounted for 62% of Saint-Gobain's operating income, compared with 40% in 2018.
Maison Bleue taken over by its managers - 15/02/2024
  • Maison Bleue specializes in the prefabrication of concrete elements for industrial buildings.
  • It has been taken over by the company's management.
  • A consortium of 60 employees took a stake in the capital. Arkéa Capital (Crédit Mutuel Arkéa) and Océan Participations are part of the new round of financing.
  • Maison Bleue operates throughout France, with 104 employees and 11,000 m2 of covered workshops.
  • It generates sales close to 30 million euros.
How Vinci is preparing its exit from French freeways - 08/02/2024
  • Vinci is preparing its exit from the French freeway business for around 2035-2036.
  • Vinci profit for 2023: 4.7 billion euros, an increase of 10% on 2022.
  • Vinci sales for 2023: around €69 billion, an increase of 12%.
  • Share of Group EBITDA generated by motorway concessions in France in 2023: 39%, down 20 points on 2006.
  • Share of EBITDA generated by Vinci Airports and other concessions in 2023: 26%, up 24 points on 2006.
  • Vinci is the world's leading private airport operator, with more than 70 airports in 13 countries.
  • Vinci acquired the Spanish company Cobra IS for 4.9 billion euros in 2021.
  • Vinci has signed an agreement to acquire a 55% stake in Brazilian concession company Entrevias by the end of 2023
  • Vinci Highways operates some 4,000 kilometers of freeways in 15 countries.
  • Vinci owns four highway concessions in the United States.

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

Saint-Gobain Distribution Bâtiment
Chausson Matériaux
LITT Diffusion (SIG Groupe)
K Line (Liébot groupe)
Rector Lesage
Herige (ex VM Matériaux)
Descours et Cabaud
Saint-Gobain Groupe

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