Published On: Wed, May 8th, 2019

Is a white window a wasted opportunity?

Tom Swallow, Sales & Marketing Director at VS specialist, Quickslide, says that demand for coloured products will naturally continue to rise, but that installers should still make the most of the opportunity to upsell from standard white.

There has been much talk about the rise in popularity of coloured products, mainly thanks to affluent homeowners – influenced perhaps by aspirational TV programmes such as Grand Designs – who want more than just a standard white casement. Would you agree that white windows are under threat as the default option for consumers?
While it is still the case that white windows make up the majority of our sales, I would definitely agree that there has been a surge in popularity for coloured products, and we have seen strong evidence of that at Quickslide. A main driver for this is that information is now much more readily available to consumers, which means that there is a broader knowledge across the general public that when it comes to upgrading their old windows and doors, they have a lot more options than just white, rosewood and golden oak. The industry is aware of this of course, so marketing across various platforms is also better than ever, and there are increasing numbers of companies who have tapped into this demand and are using the choice of colours as a key selling feature.

Some fabricators have reported that as much as 50% of their sales are now for coloured products and many predict that this will rise even further. Are you experiencing similar demand at Quickslide?
Over the last five years, we’ve seen the requirements for woodgrain and painted products double, from about 20% of our sales volume to 40% currently. There is definitely the potential for that percentage to increase, although I think it is important for us to not just rely on those consumers who have already set their sights on a Chartwell green or cream vertical slider, and to really focus on the benefits of selling more than just smooth white. After all, it costs just the same to fit a white window as it does a woodgrain foiled one, so we should ensure that we do not waste any opportunities to upsell to those homeowners who are perhaps not immediately aware of what is available to them.

Once a customer has decided that they want to invest in a premium colour or foil, how likely are they to significantly upgrade on other options such as better hardware?
Generally, when a customer is looking to buy new windows and doors for their own house, the cost does play a big part in the decision-making process and many will be limited by their budget. However, for all those who are willing to pay more for the right visual impact – and colour – then there is almost certainly going to be the opportunity to tempt them with optional extras such as run-through horns, deep bottom rails and seamless corner welds.

Looking at your more recent sales records, can you give us any insight into which are the most popular colours at the moment – and can you predict which ones will be the next big thing?
Anthracite grey and greys in general are very much on the up at the moment, including agate grey which is one that we’re definitely keeping an eye on. Looking at sales data from across the year, we can see that anthracite grey is proving so popular that it is catching up with cream and is actually on course to overtake it as our biggest seller behind white. Chartwell green has always been very well liked, and it’s also had a strong finish to the year. This data ties in with our trade partners and seems to suggest that pastel and earthy colours will become more popular over the next few years. From our own bespoke range, we are expecting to see an increase in volumes for the likes of agate grey and duck egg blue for instance.

As with any fashions, styles and trends come and go, but do you think that the popularity of coloured products will eventually fade over time?
Of course, there’s always a chance, but I think it’s reasonably safe to say that colours are in the ascendency and will continue to rise for the foreseeable future. All of which confirms that we should be taking every opportunity to upsell to consumers who are not yet fully mindful of the options available to them in order to take full advantage of the sales opportunities and higher margins that coloured products provide.