Published On: Sun, Jun 8th, 2014

Positive growth for the commercial glazing market reports Palmer

pmr2012 was another terrible year for the industry, but from here the news is upbeat according to latest market report from Palmer. With the continued bad news around the economy meaning public sector cutbacks and private sector reluctance to invest, it’s hardly surprising that 2012 was another year of decline for the commercial glazing market.

However, according to the just-published Palmer Market Research report, that situation is already starting to change. By 2017 Palmer forecasts that the market will be up by nearly a quarter in real terms. Time to celebrate? That might depend on your client base. In line with the economy in general, it’s the private sector that’ll have most growth over the next few years, as the graph above shows. While the market for commercial glazing in offices is set to rise by a whopping 40% over the next five years, the leisure sector will show only a 10% increase, and health will barely manage 4%, as funding cuts and delays associated with new style PFI schemes continue to have an impact.

Either way, its good news overall for a market that saw a fourth consecutive year of decline in 2012, down 10% in volume terms to a value of £2.4bn. Only the sector that Palmer describes as Other Private, specifically in this case rail and air projects, showed a rise – and a pretty impressive one, at 26%.

The difference between volume and value decreases, with the latter just over half the former, gives a hint as to the other ‘winners’ over the last few years. According to Robert Palmer: “Much of this difference seems to be due to a switch to more expensive entrance doors, for instance, the investment by supermarket chains has led to a big increase in the use of automatic doors.”

Beyond this, curtain walling, roof glazing and shopfronts all saw record lows in 2012. Each is predicted to grow by between 20 and 25% in the next five years, although shopfronts will take a while to get going as some retail operators dither about continuing to invest.

Windows, which represent nearly half of the market, shrunk in volume terms by 14% in 2012, but are forecast to rise by over 20% to 2017, with the growth mainly coming from the private sector.

Aluminium has continued and will continue to be by far the dominant frame material, nearly 80% in 2012. However, the 40% growth rate predicted for aluminium/timber composites over the next five years suggests that the market shouldn’t become too complacent. Palmer’s report also looks at the market for solar shading, most often used in education and offices. It shrunk by 8% in 2012, and is likely to grow by 25% over the next five years, slightly above the market in general.