One of the questions that Catering Insight has been asked more than any other is what the value of the UK catering equipment market is. There has been plenty of intelligence as to the global figure, which is expected to surpass $50bn in the next few years, but research breaking that figure down into country by country totals has been non-existent.
But now it looks like Rob Gibson, UK MD of industry quotation and design platform AutoQuotes, has come to the rescue. Using the data at his fingertips from his company’s vaults, he calculated that in 2018 the platform generated 462 projects per working day. This equated to £12.4m-worth of schemes quoted through AutoQuotes every day.
But with many kitchen projects being put out to tender with multiple distributors, Gibson accounted for ‘double counting’ by estimating that each project could be quoted on average 3.5 times on the platform. Therefore, he believes that in 2018 the UK foodservice equipment industry was worth around £991.9m.
He then undertook a comparison of total project quotations from 2018 to the first 9 months of 2019. This year started off well, with January and February up 18% and 14% respectively, but then March took a major dip of 44%, which Gibson feels was due to the original Brexit deadline. April and May were fairly static, at 2% and -6%, but June plunged again by 26%. July rebounded somewhat, seeing a 9% increase on last year’s quotation total, before August fell by 7%. However, the final compared month, September was up 11%.
Breaking the annual totals down by equipment categories also proved to be interesting. In 2018, £543m-worth of cooking and warming appliance quotes were funnelled through AutoQuotes. But that total fell by 20% to £431.7m – though this is again for January – September 2019, so the figure has a chance to yet rebound in the last few months of this year.
Food preparation equipment quotes totalled £41.3m in 2018, and in the first 9 months of 2019 has generated £36.7m, so it is more than possible this category’s annual figure will be exceeded.
Refrigeration’s 2018 collective quotation was £213m, compared to £180m for the first three quarters of this year, a 15% drop so far, which may work out as a similar total at the end of the year.
However, warewashing quotes are going great guns, with 2019’s total already overtaking last year’s. That was £127.5m compared to £129.3m this year. Beverage equipment is also on course for a better annual quotation, as 2018’s total was £13.8m, which is only 4% ahead of 2019’s 9 month total of £13.3m.
Fabrication generated £88.3m of quotations last year, with this year so far seeing £70.5m-worth, currently 20% down. And the last compared category, service and spares, saw £16.4m of quotes in 2018, with a fall of 13% this year to £14.3m.
Gibson calculated these figures using the AutoQuotes database, which has 1,178 licenced users, including users from 236 distributor or consultant companies and 180 listed manufacturers with 111,131 published products.