BDS: German distributors sell more to construction, less automotive

Sales at Germany’s stockholding steel distributors in 2019 totalled 10.7 million tonnes, a dip by -4.3% on-year, following a couple of years of increase, Kallanish learns from their federation, BDS.

The main customer group was construction, which accounted for 21% of sales, a remarkable leap of four percentage points on-year. The leading customer sector of preceding years, automotive, lost slightly and in 2019 took 20% of sales.

This marks a shift in the balance between construction and automotive. Looking back, BDS notes that until 2003 construction usually took between 20% and 30% of sales, and that automotive gradually gained since then. The share of other sectors changed little in 2019, except for the group of miscellaneous sheet and metals working companies, which lost five percentage points to 11%.

Over the course of the year, July stood out with nearly 1mt sold that month. The inventory backlog at the beginning of the year stood at 2.22mt, and by 31 December had gone down by -8.8% to 2.03mt. Notably, that low level led to strong restocking activity in February/March this year.