Published On: Tue, May 5th, 2020

Investing in the conservatory sector…

News that Ultraframe has acquired from the administrators of Aperture Trading Ltd certain of the assets relating to Global, Celsius and Stratus roofing products is an extremely positive move by the company. For the industry at large, it also points to a longer term belief in the strength of the conservatory and glazed extension market. Over the last decade the conservatory market has morphed in to the ‘glazed extension market’. Market data is rather misleading, it pointed to a decline in conservatory installation from 77,000 units to 68,000 over a 6 year period, however in this period size increased and ‘glazed extensions (including Orangeries)’ become more prominent. 

Internet searches for conservatories and glazed extensions have spiked during the lockdown period, and it’s an area many installers are viewing as an area they can possibly return to installing. Working predominantly outside of a home has its advantages, and if a working solution to social distancing between workers can be achieved, it could represent a good opportunity to returning to work. 

A particular interesting point of the statement from Ultraframe refers to the sales of the Global roof – ‘We note that the sales of Global roofs had fallen dramatically from annual sales of c.£30m around 5 years ago to a run rate of under £5m this winter, pre Covid-19. In recent years, there has been a shift away from glass roofs to solid pitched roofs and to flat roof extensions within the home extension market….. Global roofs are complex systems with the Global roof having around 2,000 parts. A large amount of Global parts were extruded or sourced from the Huthwaite extrusion plant, which has also been mothballed by the Administrator.’ 

We will all be keeping a watchful eye on the conservatory market, homeowners will be looking for cost effective solutions, not all can afford top of the range orangeries and glazed extensions. There will always be a place for PVC-U victorian conservatories that have been well served by the Global roof. It would be revealing to see if the fall in ‘Global’ roof sales at the end of 2019 coincided with increases for rival products, meaning the reduction was more related to a loss in confidence with Aperture.