MRA Research, the specialist research division of MRA Marketing, recently ran a survey asking merchants, suppliers and other construction industry stakeholders about their views on Brexit. The survey covered what they thought the impact would be on the UK, the building industry and the company they worked for.
The merchant survey showed that the largest share of merchants thought Brexit wouldn’t make much difference to the UK. However, a third thought it would be either ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’ for the UK, and almost 60% of all respondents commented separately that although there may be a slight dip in the short-term as a result of leaving, the UK would be fine in the medium and long-term.
Reviewing the potential impact on the building industry, 41% of merchants surveyed thought that Brexit would be ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’ for the sector, while 17% said it would be ‘good’ or ‘very good’ for the building industry.
Interestingly, merchants were less optimistic about the effect on their own company than the outlook for either the UK or the building industry, with only 9% expecting the company they work for to be ‘slightly’ or ‘much better off’ as a result of Brexit. National merchants were more optimistic than regional merchants or independents on this point, and this was also highlighted by their comments, which mentioned that larger groups have an advantage due to their size and better buying power.
Respondents were also asked more specifically about changes they expected to see in the next 12 months – as a result of Brexit – in sales, prices, stock levels and other issues.
Mike Rigby, who started MRA Research over 25 years ago, commented: “What clearly stands out from the survey is that over 80% of merchants expect prices to increase in the next year as a result of Brexit, while only 2% think they will decrease. But perhaps the most striking finding is that while 41% of merchants expect leaving the EU will cause an initial dip in confidence, most merchants expect building to continue as before, and do not see any major changes to their business in the long run.”