Summary of our market study

The plumbing market has demonstrated resilience and growth post-2020, partly driven by the French government's renovation aid schemes and measures against illegal work. 

The market is dominated by small businesses, encountering competition from seconded and illegal workers. Regulations require service checks every six months and annual maintenance for boilers, emphasize the use of RGE professionals for tax credit eligibility, and mandate the SPI for entrepreneurs in plumbing. Quotation regulations stipulate inclusivity of several details for any work exceeding 150 euros.

The hardware trade, essential for plumbers, grew by 6.8% and showed moderate growth in subsequent years. Innovations in smarter and more efficient equipment are shaping the market, requiring plumbers to adapt to technological advancements. French households prioritize finding the right professionals for renovation projects, valuing experience and reliability alongside competitive pricing.

Analysis of the Current Plumbing Market Demand and Trends in France

The French plumbing market has experienced a post-containment resurgence, witnessing a robust recovery fueled by measures to combat illegal work and government incentives aimed at home heating renovation. Specializing in fluid circulation in new constructions and maintenance projects, plumbers play an integral role in the construction industry which is highly populated by small businesses.

One of the pivotal factors influencing plumbing demand is the housing construction market, especially the new housing production that made a significant comeback in 2021. There has been a notable increase in the issuance of building permits, which jumped by about 20% in 2021, and housing starts also saw a rise of approximately 10 to 15% in the same year. However, a future decline in demand is forecasted due to a downturn in housing starts, as projected by the French Building Federation (FFB). Maintenance-renovation represents another substantial demand segment for plumbers.

With homeowners prioritizing energy consumption, this presents a scope for plumbing businesses to tap into energy conservation initiatives. Interestingly, while insulation accounts for about half of the renovation works conducted, heating and window replacements follow closely. It is observed that the expenditures vary greatly, with budget allocations for kitchen/bath renovations ranking second, only behind investments in insulation and eco-friendly renovations. Homeowners, on average, spend significantly more on home improvements compared to tenants.

The do-it-yourself (DIY) movement presents both an opportunity and a challenge within the sector. While only about 15 to 20% of individuals undertake plumbing-related DIY projects, the market for DIY materials is substantial. Four major groups dominate 93% of the market, led by Adeo with a nearly 45% market share.

The sector's workforce is heavily comprised of very small enterprises (VSEs), which on average employ about three to four individuals per company. Geographically, almost 40% of plumbing companies are concentrated in the Île-de-France and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes regions. Despite the robust market dynamics, competition from illegally posted or seconded workers poses a significant challenge, with the sector being particularly susceptible to fraudulent practices.

However, compliance is also a key factor in the market, with stringent rules in place for fire protection systems maintenance, boiler maintenance, and a compulsory adherence to RGE qualification for receiving tax credits for energy renovations. In terms of entrepreneurship, an individual looking to set up a plumbing business needs a CAP or BEP plumbing diploma and at least three years of professional experience.

Key Market Players in the Specialized Construction and Plumbing Sectors

The construction and plumbing sectors are comprised of a diverse array of players, from massive specialized construction conglomerates to small-scale plumbing enterprises catering to niche markets. This landscape showcases the varying scales and concentrations of expertise available to customers, ranging from all-encompassing services provided by major groups to the highly personalized offerings by smaller, focused firms.

  • Dominant Forces in Specialized Construction

    • Leading the charge in the specialized construction arena are groups like Bouygues Construction and SPIE. These titans of industry exert considerable influence due to their extensive capabilities and comprehensive service offerings across various construction sub-fields, including substantial plumbing-related works.

    • Bouygues Construction stands out as not only a heavyweight in general construction but also a key influencer in the domain of plumbing through its projects that entail intricate pipefitting and installation works. The group's prowess in the sector is marked by an ability to handle large-scale developments, underlining its status as a full-service provider.

    • SPIE, another behemoth in the field, casts a wide net with its services, covering a spectrum from electrical engineering to HVAC solutions — a testament to its integrated approach to construction and maintenance.

    • Engie Axima, somewhat more specialized than its companions, carves its niche in the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) sectors, directly interfacing with plumbing through its work on fluid circulation and environmental comfort systems.

  • Leaders in Plumbing Services

The plumbing sector features a mix of established names tackling sizable projects and smaller businesses with localized influence. Despite lower sales volumes compared to the giants in specialized construction, these firms remain pivotal in the plumbing market. UTB shines as a major player, executing significant plumbing projects with a particular kinship for large-scale endeavors. Anvolia and Fouchard follow, each with their focused approach and tailored plumbing solutions—whether it's complex installations or routine maintenance tasks. Gallier differentiates itself with a mixture of services that draw on its proficiency in plumbing, maintaining a stronghold particularly in the towns and cities where it operates.

  • The Small Yet Mighty Smaller plumbing companies, including Entreprise Marin and Entreprise Clément, while not disclosing their sales figures, are integral participants in the marketplace. They represent the local heartbeat of the sector, offering handcrafted solutions and an intimate customer service experience where larger groups might not tinker.

  • The Digital Facilitators: On the digital frontier, online quotation sites like Enchantier.com, Habitatpresto, and Izi by EDF are developping rapidly.
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  • Number of pages : ~ 40 pages
  • Format : Digital and PDF versions
  • Last update : 15/12/2022
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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Market definition and scope

Plumbing covers all the activities involved in circulating fluids, in particular through pipes. Plumbers work on new buildings, installing pipes, and on renovation and maintenance projects, such as bathrooms. This is a sub-segment of the construction industry.

A sector dominated by small businesses, it experienced some difficulties before 2016, but since the end of containment has benefited from a strong upturn in activity, helped in particular by the fight against illegal work and government renovation aid , which should encourage home heating replacement .

The study will cover the plumbing sector, with occasional references to heating and HVAC engineering, two activities often performed by plumbers.

List of charts presented in this market study

  • Sales trends in the plumbing sector
  • Total number of housing starts
  • Distribution of building permits by stravaux
  • Home loan rates, all markets
  • Number of new housing units authorized and started
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Latest news

Kramer: French ceramics manufacturer La Jurassienne turns the page on Jacob Delafon - 06/12/2023
  • The American Kohler Group, which owns Kramer, has 32,000 employees.
  • The Kramer Group will take over the Damparis site, which manufactures valves and fittings, in 2021.
  • The group has 185 employees and sales of 80 million euros.
  • In 2020, the plant will employ 150 people, compared with 58 after the takeover.
  • By 2023, private labels will account for 90% of the 90,000 parts sold.
  • Half of these parts are manufactured in Damparis.
  • Plant sales should exceed 4 million euros by 2023.
  • The plant's target is to produce 150,000 parts a year, 60% for private labels and 40% for the Horus and Kramer brands.
  • The Horus and Kramer brands have been extended to include toilet bowls, basins, washbasins and shower trays manufactured at Damparis.
Building : Bouygues Construction commits to reusing materials - 31/10/2023
  • According to ADEME, reused materials account for only 1% of construction waste.
  • Reuse should contribute to a 3% reduction in CO2 emissions from Bouygues' construction activities in France by 2030.
  • Its subsidiary Cyneo is a facilitator of the reused materials sector and a marketplace for recycled products
  • Cyneo is a community of deconstructors, project owners, materials manufacturers and reconditioners
  • The Valobat network, one of the eco-organizations in the new sector for the collection and recycling of building products and materials, is one of Cyneo's six major partners
  • Cyneo has a number of partners: Premys, a Colas subsidiary specializing in deconstruction, SMA BTP, which assists with insurance, and BTP Consultants for technical control.
Sarodis joins the Kramer Group in Maine et Loire - 03/05/2023
  • Acquisition of Horus and Jurassienne de Céramique Française in 2019
  • Takeover of Sarodis in 2023, 20 employees, sales of 6 million euros
  • Kramer Group: sales of 30 million euros in France 180 employees
  • Sarodis areas of expertise: faucets, mixers, shower trays, shower columns, shower inserts and connected showerheads
  • 25-year Sarodis presence at Leroy Merlin
  • Sarodis helps the Lorraine-based group open the doors to DIY retailing
Martin Belaysoud strengthens its position in renewable energies - 03/03/2023
  • Through its main subsidiary Tereva, heating and air-conditioning specialist Martin Belaysoud has signed an agreement to acquire a stake in HRC Solipac
  • HRC Solipac represents the Japanese Hitachi brand in France and ended 2022 with €103 million in sales, tripling its business since 2017, thanks in particular to the solar panels it supplies to installers.
  • It has twelve sales outlets in a large southeastern quarter of the country and employs around one hundred people.
Hammel builds on its plumbers' automatic store - 23/11/2022
  • Perigueux-based hardware manufacturer founded in 1948
  • a group with sales of €127 million by 2021
  • Hammel Go Store: a fully automated store for plumbers
  • 300 essential repair items arranged in racks
  • Objective: to roll out a dozen stores a year by 2024
Construction and public works welcome concrete 3D printing technology, a new innovation - 14/06/2022
  • Five single-family homes show that 3D concrete printing has reached a milestone in France.
  • Material savings have been in the order of 50%.
  • Spie Batignolles, which has already acquired a first unit from XtreeE, is considering adding one or two more "heads" to extend its network in France.

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. :

Axima Concept (Engie)
Bouygues Construction
SPIE
Anvolia
Fouchard
UTB
Gallier
Entreprise Clément
Entreprise Marin
Habitatpresto
Izi by EDF
Hammel Robinetterie

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