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European contractors are mostly brand-oriented in their purchasing behaviour

The majority of the European main contractors is more brand-oriented than outlet-oriented. This is especially the case for bricks for façade/inner walls (64%), power/hand tools (61%), floor wall tiles (60%) and roof tiles/water proofing solutions (60%). Across all investigated product groups, Italian main contractors is clearly the most brand-oriented country and German main contractors are the least brand-oriented in Europe.

This is one of the results of the European Contractor Monitor 2018 of USP Marketing Consultancy. In this research 1,100 contractors with at least 6 employees in eight countries were asked about the importance of the various purchase channels to their business. This article dives deeper in the question whether main contractors are more brand-oriented or outlet-oriented in their purchasing behaviour. 

Before mentioning the differences between the main contractors in Germany and Italy, the top 3 of brand-oriented products and the top 3 of outlet-oriented products for European main contractors is as follows:

Top 3 brand-oriented products for European main contractors

  1. Bricks for façade/inner walls (64%)
  2. Power/hand tools (61%)
  3. Floor/wall tiles (60%)

Top 3 Outlet-oriented products for European main contractors

  1. sealants/cement (27%)
  2. Roof tiles/water proofing solutions (23%),
  3. insulation materials (23%)

More brand-oriented main contractors in Italy

The European Contractor Monitor of USP Marketing Consultancy shows that European contractors tend to be more brand oriented than outlet-oriented in their purchasing behaviour. Especially in Italy, it is clear that the main contractors are more focused on brands and less on loyalty towards the usual outlet where they are buying. This is 85% in Italy and 61% in Germany for the product category of bricks for façade/inner walls. Other product groups show a similar image, although the shares are lower.

Bricks for façade/inner walls has the highest brand loyalty

The product group of bricks for façade/inner walls is clearly the product group, in which brand loyalty seems to be the most important for the European main contractor. Zooming in on e.g. the bricks for façade/inner walls in Italy: almost half of the Italian main contractors (47%) will buy the same brand at another outlet, if their usual outlet cannot deliver the specific brand they are looking for. There are more main contractors even indicating that they will go directly to the manufacturer (19%) than buying a similar product from a different brand at the same outlet (6%) if the usual outlet does not have their preferred brand in-store.

The German main contractors are more outlet-oriented than their Italian colleagues. Already 29% of them really indicate that they will buy a different brand at the same outlet if the usual outlet does not have the specific brand that is needed. This is higher than the share of contractors mentioning they will buy the same brand at a different outlet (21%).


For this research amongst 1,100 European main contractors (6 employees and more), USP Marketing Consultancy has made a split between companies with 6 – 15 employees and 16+ employees. This research is focused on eight European countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the UK). The results are presented on a European level and also on country level. One of the questions which we have asked the main contractor was: What would you do if your usual outlet does not have the specific brand for [the product] that you are searching for?

The following answers could be given by the respondent:

  • Similar product different brand same outlet
  • Same brand but different outlet
  • Go directly to manufacturer
  • Search online
  • Wait till it’s available again

After we have gathered the data, we have made the analyses and have come to the results that are presented. The report provides more in-depth insights per country.