As we near the end of the year, I want to take a look at the products that may prove to be battle grounds in 2019 as installers and fabricators continue to look for new ways to create revenue and open up new markets.
Skylights are one of them. These aren’t new products of course, and I have written in the past that this is going to be a future battle ground between fabricators. However since I last wrote that, I cannot help but feel the energy and hype that was once burgeoning in this niche has ebbed away.
Things might be about to change though.
Ultraframe have been pushing their UltraSky lanterns of late. Liniar have literally just announced a brand new lantern roof called Elevate, which you can read more about by clicking here.
I also know of another new flat skylight product going live from a major fabricator in the early part of next year. There does seem to be a bit of momentum building in this part of the market again.
And so it should. There are millions of flat roofs out there, many used in kitchen extensions, living rooms, dining areas. Not to mention the 3m+ conservatories out there ripe for refurbishment and the new-build extensions that could easily take a skylight or two. The potential is absolutely massive. And the number of fabricators out there with a lantern or skylight product is endless. Everyone has a system of their own, each with it’s own merits depending on the budget and project requirements.
The way the industry seems to now be talking about skylights again, and with companies bringing new products to market, 2019 feels like a year which will re-launch this part of the market again.
That’s not to say installers and fabricators haven’t been selling them. Some installers really have been pushing them and getting good results from them. But if I was to think back about when I wrote the original battle ground article the hype was much more than it was right now. In hindsight I think the introduction of the product was a phase one landing, with the new year bringing a renewed push to home owners showing them the benefits. I feel like the industry has now had time to perfect their product offerings, hence the launching of new skylight products.
Things will be different this time round though.
Flat skylights and other things
It was just the lantern roof market when it launched. Mini pitched roofs designed for orangeries and flat roofs. Available in set sizes from most fabricators, in a range of colours, glass options and in PVCu or aluminium. A solid start.
Then someone had the bright idea, which I saw myself personally, to make a flat glass side light. This was a while ago and was an early prototype, but it looked good. Fast forward to present day and we’re seeing flat skylights elbowing their way into proceedings. Indeed, the featured image up top shows the UltraSky flat skylight as an example.
Lanterns are nice, but not every home owner will like the idea of a pitched roof. Those people might like something a bit flatter, which fabricators have recognised and are now bringing to market flat alternatives. Personally I quite like them. Simple, easy to install, a bit sexy. 2019 won’t just be about lanterns it will be about the flat skylight too. There are a few out there who offer a flat alternative, but I can guarantee that the rest of the roof makers will bring out their own versions just as they did with the lanterns.
It’s not just flat skylights which will add some extra spice to this sector, but the other additional products too. Integral blinds is one of them. I am seeing a number of blinds suppliers now offering blinds designed specifically to be installed into flat skylights. And they look good too.
Makes sense to me. Lots of vertical sun light and heat coming from up top. Especially during the summer we had this year. Externally fixed blinds are awkward and a bugger to clean. Might as well take a product that has worked very well for windows and put it in skylights. Press a button and job done, the blind slides right across to close off vision and reduce heat. An ideal chance for blinds makers to cash in on what will be a growing niche in the market and a great additional product for installers to demonstrate to home owners.
There are a lot of players in the lantern market. All of the big established names and plenty of other disruptors too. 2019 is going to be a tough year on many fronts, and the need for new revenue streams will be more important than ever. This really could become a massively competitive niche within our market next year. Expect plenty of robust marketing from all directions and lots of fighting for market share from everyone.
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