Published On: Wed, Jan 10th, 2018

Heavyweight market reports make for encouraging reading

Two heavyweight market reports have come out this month and both make for encouraging reading. The much anticipated Insight Data Fabricator and Installer Market Report offers an intriguing analysis of the numbers that make up the industry. Currently, there are 15,099 window, door, IGU and conservatory companies in the UK: of these, 4,852 are involved in manufacture (4,178 fabricating windows and doors). The shape of manufacturing is altering, with PVC-U still the dominant force with 1,407 fabricators followed by 801 aluminium fabricators. Within the PVC-U sector there is current growth in fabricators producing between 100-250 frames per week, and there is also a growing trend for PVC-U fabricators to dual- or multi-source the systems they manufacture. This trend can be linked to fabricators offering different product lines from a number of suppliers, no longer dependent on a single supplier for all their products. This development is good news for system companies, as they are no longer completely focused on persuading a fabricator to change its complete production to their range of products. This allows for greater choice for installers, and this is what is driving the market.

The installers remain the most important part of the industry pyramid, and it was pleasing to see that the number of window, door and conservatory installation firms has risen from 10,231 in 2008 to 13,281 in 2017. The installation market is still dominated by small firms with a window/door frames per week volume of between 1-25. When this is worked back from Palmer Market Research’s latest report which states the window market for windows has grown by 1.2% to 6.82 million frames, it is clear to see the market is dominated by smaller-sized installation firms. Product choice is the key for installers and now more than ever as consumers are looking for something different for their homes. Specialist/niche products are more frequently being accepted into the mainstream, a point reinforced in the Insight report with the example of composite doors evolving from a specialist premium product to a standard product offering. Higher-value items are leading the way in many regions, and having visited a supplier of high-end coloured PVC-U systems and also a luxury timber manufacturer recently, I can see it is clear that their strategies for growth are directly linked to offering installers and manufacturers greater choice at the top end of the market. This is offering homeowners an opportunity to upgrade their existing windows and doors, which is helping to fuel the continued growth of the industry. Which according to Palmer has risen 7% in value terms to £4.5bn.