One trend that is evident throughout the building materials market is that consumers are opting for Australian made products over cheaper imports, which is great news for companies such as Cement Australia, who produce their product in both Queensland and Tasmania.
Consumers are showing an increasing interest in purchasing and supporting Australian made products, according to Cement Australia’s Marketing Coordinator, Christel Kelly, which is set to benefit local suppliers throughout this year and beyond.
“This increasing support for locally made product is one reason why we have recently launched our ‘Made Right Here’ campaign, starting off with targeted social media platforms. As part of this campaign, Cement Australia is also in the process of changing its bag artwork to clearly communicate that its products are made locally. For example, if a product is made in Queensland, we will use the Queensland map on the packaging to convey its state of origin,” Ms Kelly said.
“The process to introduce new packaging has commenced and this will continue over the coming months. We were already well progressed with our campaign prior to the pandemic taking hold. The pandemic has only reinforced the desire for Australian’s to support locally manufactured products,” she said.
Cement Australia’s ‘Made Right Here’ campaign will include on-line footage specifically developed to educate customers on the processes undertaken to manufacture its products, from the mine, to the mill, to the retailer’s shelf.
“These videos, currently featured on Cement Australia’s website, are directed at both the trade and DIY markets and are an important way of showing potential customers that we are a significant local employer and we support the communities we operate in. The videos are also designed to explain the science behind producing a bag of cement and the extensive processes that go into manufacturing our products in Australia,” Ms Kelly said.
“We will promote this campaign at several expos next year so we can give our customers the tools they need to pass on this knowledge to their customers. This way, when the end-user sees a Cement Australia product, they will understand how and where our products are made,” she said.
After manufacturing cement in Australia since 1890, we know that tradies prefer the quality and performance they get from locally made products, Ms Kelly said.
“According to a survey we conducted a few years ago, we found that tradies wanted to use products that met the Australian standards and that are made right here in Australia,” Ms Kelly said.
“This is why it is so important to ensure our packaging communicates that our products are made locally. I have also heard retailers tell their customers that Cement Australia’s products are made just down the road and they are supporting a business that supports the local communities,” said Ms Kelly.
“This is not a message we have pushed onto our customers. It is something that consumers are passionate about and something that is starting to influence their purchasing decisions.” she said.
Cement Australia will also soon release its improved mortar mix to be re-launched as a trade mortar later this year.
“While this new product is only in Queensland at the moment, we will slowly launch it throughout New South Wales in October and then the southern states after that,” Ms Kelly said.
Adelaide Brighton Cement builds a better Australia
Adbri Ltd. is another Australian manufacturer of cement, lime and building product supplies, that has also experienced strong packaged product sales across both the trade and DIY markets this year after consumers completed several projects around the home during the pandemic, according to National Packaged Products Manager, Tara Gracie.
A steady pipeline of work within the building and construction industry has also upheld consistent sales during this time, along with consumers continuing to favour local products, she said.
“Market feedback and key industry bodies have also reported a positive response to the Home Builder Grant, which will then hopefully support sales within the building materials sector in the short term. In saying this, we do anticipate a decline across the market towards the second half of 2021 with the impact likely to vary state by state,” Ms Gracie said.
Just some of the products that have sold particularly well included an increase in sales across Adbri Ltd’s easy to use ‘just add water’ packaged product range.
“The impressive in store sales within these areas supports our retailer feedback that DIY sales had significantly increased as consumers commenced projects around the home, whilst self-isolating,” she said.
“We produce quality products that consistently perform well. This is highly important to trade customers as it can reflect on their workmanship, which is why Adbri Ltd. has earned a level of trust that has been proven over many years,” Ms Gracie said.
With just some of Adbri Ltd. companies including Adelaide Brighton Cement, Cockburn Cement and Northern Cement, Ms Gracie said they all continually pride themselves on supplying high quality, locally made products.
“Our brands have a long-standing history in Australia, with origins dating back to 1882. We employ local people who all work together to ensure we meet our customer needs and deliver on our promises, which is why our motto of ‘Building a better Australia’ is so important to us.”
Despite the COVID-19 restrictions, Adelaide Brighton Cement went on to complete the installation of its new drymix packing plant at Birkenhead, South Australia and also launched its new rainproof plastic packaging to the market earlier in the year.
“The new innovative packaging now provides many added benefits for both retailers and end users including being rainproof, while featuring easy lift bag handles, reducing dust, providing a longer shelf life, resistance, and producing less product wastage while also providing flexible storage options,” Ms Gracie said.
The rainproof packaging is now available across Adbri Ltd’s range of pre-blended drymix products in South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory, she said.
Tiling and building materials turn a profit during COVID-19
While many businesses have suffered the consequences of COVID-19, some are not only surviving but are seeing significant growth in tiling and building materials, according to Ardex Managing Director, Fabian Morgan.
“The construction industries have been relatively fortunate when compared with other industries. The ability to drive sales through hardware retailers during governmental restrictions and the long-term commitments of construction projects have helped avoid the quick drop off of sales seen elsewhere,” Mr Fabian Morgan said.
Dunlop’s parent company, Ardex Australia, is a clear example of this ability to grow during COVID-19, which has seen its brands generate double-digit growth between March and June. Dunlop in particular, was able to leverage the increased consumer interest in DIY and continued trade purchasing while benefitting from market consolidation, according to Mr Morgan.
“We have seen a shift in the tile and building materials landscape, with larger players merging or growing through acquisitions, including Ardex Australia recently taking a majority shareholding in DTA Tools and Nexus Adhesives. This rationalisation means market leaders can support the industry through increased innovation that benefits everyone as we move into a more digital age,” he said.
According to recent research (Periscope by McKinsey) it is estimated that digital adoption by consumers and businesses jumped by 10 years in the first 90 days of the pandemic. It is for this reason that Dunlop is already innovating with the launch of its new digital project system selector and interactive grout selector found at Dunlopdiy.com, according to Mr Morgan. The new site was developed so retailers could offer online expertise and guidance to consumers at a time when people are hesitant to visit physical stores, he said.
“Consumers rely on hardware store staff for expertise and guidance but are now looking for digital options in an attempt to stay safe. Dunlopdiy.com provides retailers with the ability to offer expertise without the associated expense. We are planning a number of online innovations like this to ensure Dunlop’s continued success and that of our customers into 2021 and beyond,” Mr Morgan said.
Alongside helping retailers with customer-facing digital solutions, Dunlop continues to develop and create high-quality products in Australia, while also ensuring consistent availability of product.
“Recent international McKinsey research shows that 40 per cent of consumers switched brands during COVID-19, with about half (45 per cent to 52 per cent) of respondents citing better price/value ratio and not just price as a leading reason for trying a new brand. This shows the importance of brands with depth in their range of product and other support offerings that customers can trust on platforms they can easily access,” he said.
In saying this, online channels will not replace bricks and mortar altogether, according to Mr Morgan.
“People still want to go into stores to judge products first hand. We expect that as restrictions ease, consumers will come back to the aisles. Meanwhile, trades, especially those whose preferred retailers were forced to close, will start to consider their options and previous store loyalties.”
“For both target markets, it is important for hardware stores to consider how they are going to manage the path back to a sense of normality while retaining and growing both customer bases through a mix of in-store and digital offerings. Partners like Dunlop, owned by Ardex Australia, offer a range of solutions to help from merchandising to online tools, for retailers to provide the best service possible,” he said.
Partnership builds between Woodhouse Timber and TimberTech AZEK
After the success and popularity of the premium capped polymer range of decking from the TimberTech AZEK Vintage Collection, Woodhouse Timber and TimberTech have partnered up once again to expand its range within the Australian marketplace.
Woodhouse Timber will now stock the TimberTech AZEK Harvest Collection, TimberTech PRO Terrain Collection of four-sided capped composite decking, and all TimberTech EDGE three-sided capped composite collections will be in-store ready for decking season.
Woodhouse Timber Chief Executive Officer, Mark Woodhouse, said the team was excited about its new decking ranges and the additional choices they will now be able to offer
“It enables us to cater to all budgets and tastes with quality products. TimberTech has the most innovative, forward-thinking technology in the industry and we are extremely pleased to bring these products to the local market,” Mr Woodhouse said.
This expanded range offers Australian decking specialists, architects, and tradies product choices that will appeal to a wide range of customers who want beautiful, durable, low maintenance decking solutions.
A new ‘Better Tech, Better Deck’ campaign has also recently been launched by TimberTech and it highlights the sustainability, versatility, and durability of all TimberTech products by illustrating how they can provide a greater overall experience.
In Queensland, New South Wales, ACT, Victoria, and Tasmania, the TimberTech AZEK Harvest Collection in Brownstone and Slate Gray as well the TimberTech PRO Terrain Collection in Silver Maple and Brown Oak colours will be available. In Western Australia, the TimberTech EDGE Prime+ Collection will be stocked and available in Sea Salt Gray and Coconut Husk. Initially these will be in widths of 136 millimetres and 24 millimetres thick. (These sizes have been rounded off from actual imperial sizing to metric equivalents.) Other TimberTech decking products will be available on request or special order.