Companies in this industry are primarily engaged in retail sales of new building materials and supplies. Major companies include Home Depot, Lowe's, and Menard (all based in the US) as well as Beijing Easyhome Investment Holding Group and Red Star Macalline International (both based in China), Home Improvement Hirose (Japan), Kingfisher (UK), and Praktiker and Tengelmann-owned OBI (both based in Germany). Some independently owned stores belong to wholesale cooperatives, such as Ace Hardware and True Value Company in the US, that buy materials in bulk and resell them to members.
Worldwide, the global do-it-yourself (DIY) and home improvement market, which includes building material dealers, is valued at more than $500 billion, according to the European Federation of DIY Manufacturers. Together, Europe and North America account for more than 90% of the global market.
The US building materials dealer industry includes about 60,000 establishments (single-location companies and units of multi-location companies) with combined annual sales of about $275 billion.
The industry includes home centers and hardware stores and paint and wallpaper stores, which are covered in separate industry profiles, as well as specialized building material retailers such as electrical supply and plumbing supply stores.
Demand is driven mainly by residential real estate construction and renovation. The profitability of individual companies depends on merchandising and customer service. Large companies enjoy economies of scale in purchasing and have the ability to offer more products. Small companies can compete effectively by catering...