Published On: Wed, Jan 14th, 2015

Business levels return to somewhere near those resembling pre-recession conditions

As 2014 draws to a close, many in the industry are extremely optimistic about the prospects for 2015. This year has seen business levels return to somewhere near those resembling pre-recession conditions. Consumer spending is at the heart of our sector’s business activity. Recently, I attended a consumer focus group organised by a major UK insurer. The agenda was to determine spending patterns and what plans were in place for the next 12 months. While 2014 had been a year of recovery, many people felt their life equilibrium had returned and they were more comfortable about investing money to enrich their future. Much of this investment activity centred on improving and developing their homes. Holidays also played a part, but the common theme was spending money that had a significant long-lasting return attached. Home improvements were top of the list as the majority didn’t anticipate moving home next year due to uncertainty surrounding interest rates and the outcome of the impending general election.

What all the focus group attendees had was some available money that they wanted to utilise in a manner that would have a lasting enhancement to their immediate surroundings and home life. Improving the home was top of the list, and of all the possible areas, windows, doors and conservatories were high priority. When asked why, they believed that it represented ‘more bang for your buck’. There appears to be a new-found trust and impetus among consumers wanting new windows, doors and conservatories. Even BBC newsreader Michael Buerk mentioned on entering ITV’s latest series of ‘I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here‘ that he would be using his fee for “new double glazing”. With apparent high levels of interest, which will hopefully culminate in orders, becoming the norm, it is important that supply meets demand. The pressure is on the manufacturers to maintain decent lead times so installers can furnish as many householders as possible with new windows and doors.