In the last decade, conventional wisdom held that metal roofing has been a relatively small but fast-growing segment of the market. This year, in the midst of a slumping economy, how has the metal market fared? To answer that question, Roofing Contractor commissioned the BNP Media Market Research Division to conduct a research study on contractors’ views and market trends in the metal roofing industry. The study was conducted in May and June of 2008, and the results give us a snapshot of the metal market this year that can be compared with previous Roofing Contractor surveys on the same topic conducted in 2005 and 2001.
The Sample SurveyedThe audience was comprised of 1,476 active, qualified Roofing Contractor subscribers selected at random, and the survey had a healthy response rate of 18 percent. Ninety-seven percent of respondents were responsible for specifying, recommending, or purchasing metal roofing products for their company.
The companies represented in the survey averaged 43 employees, with the largest portion (36 percent) employing six through 19 people during the peak season. Sixteen percent of respondents exclusively do commercial work, while 7 percent only do residential work. Among those contractors who do both residential and commercial work, on average they were evenly split, with half of their sales coming from the commercial sector and the other half from the residential market. On average, 73 percent of residential sales came from retrofit roofing, with 27 percent coming from new construction.
Gauging the MarketContractors were asked whether they expected their residential and commercial business to increase, decrease or stay about the same in the next 12 months and three years. (See Figures 1 and 2.) Sixteen percent of respondents expected residential sales revenue to decline in the next year. That figure was twice as large as that in the 2005 study (8 percent) and three times as large as in 2001 (4 percent). However, 84 percent of respondents expect residential business to increase or stay about the same during the next 12 months.
On the commercial side, the percentage of respondents who expected to see a decrease in their commercial business in the next 12 months almost triples that of the 2005 study (11 percent vs. 4 percent). However, as Figure 2 shows, 89 percent of respondents expect commercial business to increase or stay about the same in the next 12 months.
When asked about their expectations over the next three years, the numbers reflected more optimism. Eleven percent expect residential business to decline in the next three years, while 25 percent expect an increase and 64 percent expect residential sales to stay about the same. Six percent predict a decrease in commercial sales over the next three years, with 37 percent expecting commercial business to increase and 57 percent expecting it to stay about the same.
Types of Metal Roofing Materials UsedWhen we asked about types of commercial and residential metal roofing materials used, galvalume was the top response in both categories. (See Figures 3 and 4.) On average, 23 percent of respondents indicated they used galvalume for residential applications - up 10 percent from the 2005 study. The use of galvalume in commercial roofing also saw a substantial gain compared to the 2005 study. A quarter of this year’s respondents indicated they used galvalume for commercial applications, compared to 13 percent in 2005. Aluminum and galvanized also saw notable increases over the most recent study in both the residential and commercial categories.
Standing seam applications were the most popular in both the commercial and residential sectors. Fifty-five percent of contractors surveyed used standing seam for residential jobs, up from 49 percent in 2005 and 46 percent in 2001. When it came to commercial installations, 64 percent of respondents did standing seam work, up from 56 percent in 2005 and 48 percent in 2001.
When installing formed panel systems, more respondents in 2008 than 2005 indicated that they sometimes, often or always have the systems rolled on site by the manufacturer (up 13 percentage points, from 18 percent in 2005 to 31 percent in 2008). Forty-five percent always had the material delivered by the manufacturer.
Purchase History, Buying PlansSurvey respondents were asked how much they spent on metal roofing equipment and machinery in the last 12 months and how much they planned to spend in the next 12 months. (See Figures 5 and 6.) On average, respondents spent $17,280 on metal equipment and machinery in the past 12 months, and they planned to spend $14,607 in the next 12 months.
The amount of respondents indicating no spending at all in the past 12 months was down considerably from the previous study (12 percent in 2008, compared to 25 percent in 2005). The percentage of respondents planning to spend no money at all on metal roofing equipment and machinery in the next 12 months was also down from the last survey (23 percent in 2008, compared to 37 percent in 2005).
Metal roofing also seems to be accounting for an increasing percentage of annual revenue for contractors surveyed. (See Figure 7.) A third of respondents in this year’s survey indicated that more than 20 percent of their revenue came from metal, up from 23 percent in 2005 and 21 percent in 2001. The percentage of respondents with more than 15 percent of their revenue coming from metal roofing was 46 percent in 2008, up from 34 percent in 2005 and 35 percent in 2001.
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