It is said that major domestic or international events can throw a spanner in the works of certain industries. Usually the big ticket item ones. General elections and referendums are the main one. Our industry took a noticeable dip in the run up to the 2016 EU referendum and the 2017 General Election. I’m not sure why, but when big decision-based events take place, it’s almost as if the nation holds it’s breath and puts others things on hold, just to make sure the sky doesn’t fall in and life continues.
Occasionally, sport can get in the way. You might have heard, in between the noise of a certain summit and a certain Government bill, that the 2018 World Cup in Russia is about to start. Hopes for England aren’t particularly high this year. After the Euros, who would blame the England fans. I’ve even stopped watching them.
But, and this is a big but, if we do manage to make it out of the group this time, do we dare get excited? And if we do, do households become distracted by it all?
Getting out of the group
I never really believed it when the last World Cup came round, but I was told that business would take a leg south during the course of the tournament, or at least whilst England was still in it. Low and behold, things did seem a bit quiet for a few weeks. Until of course England left the tournament and expectations were traditionally trashed.
This time round, expectations are about as low as I have ever seen. There’s been little to no tangible excitement or build-up. There are plenty of jokes about losing games to Tunisia and Panama. After losing to Iceland a couple of years ago, I guess anything is possible.
Quietly though, there is some faint optimism that a young squad without fear and a fair bit of talent could actually do reasonably well in this year’s tournament. On paper, we should be beating Tunisia and Panama comfortably, which would see us out of the group no matter what the result against Belgium, so long as Belgium win both their games too. So, if we get out of the group stages, that would be better than our last outing at the Euros. You can pretty much guarantee that the UK media will go into overdrive at the potential to go even further.
So, bringing it back to a window industry viewpoint, I think if expectations and hype remain low, perhaps the industry might escape some of the usual World Cup distractions. If we actually manage to do well and get the fans and media excited, I suppose it’s possible that we could see a dip in business activity for a few weeks.
Personally, I’m not getting my hopes up for our chances at the World Cup. Every time I end up disappointed, so I know better than to get ahead of myself. I also think that even if we do manage to get out of the group, we’re probably not going to see any sort of World Cup fever, unless we somehow make it to the semi-final stages. I would say big ticket industries are probably safe this time round.
Those who will benefit
Whilst big ticket industries, such as our own, do sometimes see a dip in activity whilst event like the World Cup do take place, other sectors get a boost. The most obvious being pubs, eateries, sports equipment and apparel sectors. Then you have the sports betting industry. So, if you’re a drinker, gambler, like your burgers and love a World Cup football, be prepared to spend quite a lot of money in the coming month or so.
This is why big ticket sectors see a dip. It’s events like these which take centre stage, at least only for a short while. Family and friends get together, be it at home or in the bars and make an occasion out of each game. This is where the money gets spent.
Zooming out a little bit though, there is also evidence that when a country does well in thins like the World Cup, their economies are boosted. There is an argument that the UK economy, although mainly in England, could well see a boost if the team can make a relative success of it. The national mood improves, people spend more, the economy does better. If this fine weather can last another four or five weeks as well then we could see a pretty strong end to UK GDP figures for Q2 and heading into Q3. So even if the window industry is susceptible to events like the World Cup, perhaps the longer term benefits of a successful campaign make it worth it.
Will you be watching the World Cup in the next few weeks? Who are you supporting? Do you think England have a chance to make it far into the tournament, or will we be let down again as in previous competitions? All thoughts welcome via the comments section below!
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