Published On: Wed, Jul 26th, 2017

Redefining the window and door industry

Tougher second-time replacement sales and the shift away from home ownership, are driving long-term change in the window and door industry. The analysis was delivered by Robert Palmer, Palmer Market Research during the recent FIT Show seminar programme. He said first-time window and door replacements had dropped from 80% in 2000 to less than 30% in 2015, with ‘replacement of replacement’ installations now accounting for 70% of all installations. He argued that this was driving increased focus on aesthetics: “Homeowners want something that is tangibly different and the appearance of windows is increasingly important in the market,” he said. “That in turn is driving innovation in the industry and the shift to premium finishes and foils in retail markets. “While there will always be a place for standard budget white PVC-U, there has been a definite shift in consumer expectation.

“The industry has responded with foils and premium finishes as well as the very substantial growth that we’re seeing in demand for aluminium.” To this end he forecast that aluminium is on course to reach a 17-year high by 2020, topping 220,000 frames by the end of the three-year period. This he said would be delivered by significant growth in the bi-fold market, which he forecast was set for growth of 30% through to 2020 in all material types to 55,000 door sets. Of these, he predicted that aluminium would take the lion’s share of the market at 35,000 units.

Palmer cited ‘exponential growth’ in the solid roof conservatory market as a second key area of opportunity. According to The Window, Door and Conservatory Markets in Housing in Great Britain, (October 2016) the market for replacement conservatory roofs was up 62% in 2015 to 11,200 installations and is forecast for continuing growth through to 2020.

He also forecast continuing if steady growth in the composite door market, which he said would increase to around 850,000 door sets per annum in the next three years. But while citing sizeable areas of growth, he tempered forecasts with predictions of continuing challenge. Alongside the shift to tougher second-time replacement sales, Palmer said that the long-term decline in homeownership was also driving a long-term change in the market. This according to figures has dropped from a peak of 14.8million in 2005 to below 14.3million last year. Conversely, the private rental sector was up from around 2million properties in 2005 to 4.5million.

“The private rental market tends to be again, that little bit tougher and price driven. There are however incentives – or perhaps more accurately, disincentives for not doing so – to improve the energy efficiency of their properties. “MEES or Minimum Energy Efficiency standards give landlords just a year to bring the energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of their properties to no lower than E for new tenants and to all existing tenancies from 01 April 2020,” said Palmer. He concluded: “Brexit is clearly also an influence. What that influence will be right now is very difficult to predict as we know so very little about its potential shape. “Regardless of this, however, message is that the market as always never stands still and that product innovation. but also end-user expectation, coupled with the impact of legislation, is reshaping how the industry does and will need to do business.”

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