We’re all properly back to work now after the Christmas break. I imagine many of us are slowly getting back into some sort of gear, although the dark mornings and dark nights are just as uninspiring as they were pre-Christmas.
Still, it’s the start of a new year, so it seems like a very good time to take a look at five product areas that I think are definitely worth watching and getting involved with in 2019.
This is a five product list, but it’s not in any order, and these are just my opinions. Please feel free to add to the list via the comments section below!
It’s not as if this is a new product now. Every systems company and therefore every fabricator has access to a flush window. Year on year sales of flush windows have been rising, there’s no question about that. But quite a few fabricators and systems companies have been pushing flush windows in the past few months, and I feel like we’re building up to a year where the industry is really going to make a concerted effort to dramatically increase sales of flush windows to home owners.
It’s easy to see why flush windows are gaining in popularity. It’s hard to deny how much better flush windows look on the outside with their flat profile. Add mechanical joints to the sashes and you have a product that really does catch the eye of a buyer. It stands apart from the rest even further when you make flush windows in colours like Agate Grey, French Grey, Cream wood grain and other heritage colours.
They suit pretty much any property too. I have sold them into new-builds, into old terraced houses, self-builds and complete refurbishment projects. All have looked stunning in their own way.
If you’re an installer looking to find a new revenue stream for 2019 and you haven’t yet taken a proper look at flush windows, this year is the time to do it. Get on the band wagon now before the rest of the competition does.
Lanterns and sky lights
I mentioned this in a post at the end of last year, which you can read by clicking here. But, as with flush windows, there have been plenty of manufacturers that have recently been pushing their new flat sky lights as well as their lantern roof products.
I wrote in my previous post on this product group that I felt as though the steam had run out a little bit after their initial launch into the industry a few years ago. You had the original hype and the excitement about opening up a new niche within the industry, and then it all fell a bit flat. I don’t think it was the fault of the product. The quality was generally very good. I just think that we didn’t do a good enough job of putting the product in front of home owners well enough. Instead products like composite doors and solid roofs continued to get the limelight whilst other things fell by the wayside.
2019 though I feel will be the year where lanterns, and now flat sky lights, make their mark. Plenty of suppliers have brand new or refreshed products coming out this year, or are already live. There is an energy again behind this sub-sector and I am sure installers will be encouraged to start talking about them in a big way to home owners.
This is an area we are looking at heavily at our family business and will hope to be doing plenty of business in flat sky lights and lanterns over the coming 12 months.
Aluminium entrance doors
The story of bi-folds and aluminium is well known. It can be credited with introducing the whole of the aluminium market back to the residential sector, which continues to grow at brisk speed.
But I think 2019 could bring about a good year for sales of aluminium entrance doors. By entrance doors I don’t mean French doors or fully glazed single doors, but doors the likes of this:
They’re certainly not the cheapest doors on the market, but they are different, and provide a flavour of design and artistic flair that other types of doors don’t give you. If a home owner is spending good money on aluminium windows on their home, it would make sense to purchase a proper aluminium entrance door as well.
The industry isn’t going to be selling thousands per week as per composite doors for example, but I do think sales of this type of door could well increase this year as more companies get on board with products like that and market them to home owners who are already tuned in to aluminium. This year is going to be all about what installers can offer over their competitors. This would be one such product.
Smart door tech
There’s a variety of smart door tech out there at the moment. A lot are lock based products, like August for example. Most however are built for the US markets where their residential door locks are very different to that of ours.
Yale have their Conexis which is OK. We have tried it at our place but customers don’t seem that enthused by it. Their outage at the end of last year which saw thousands of Yale customers with their smart products encounter problems didn’t really help matters.
2019 though could see a change in fortunes for smart door tech and it will be down to companies like Ring. Although not actually part of the door itself, their smart door bell has been a very popular seller across US, UK and European markets. WiFi powered, their smart door bells have a camera, microphone, is app operated and alerts home owners when something comes near their door. From there, Ring has introduced a whole host of extra products to tie in with their door bell to create a genuine smart home security system. They have floodlight cameras, solar panel chargers, premium versions of their door bells and a whole host of brand new products being announced at CES which is ongoing.
So why do I think smart door tech is an area to watch this year? Many of you will be aware of a spike in home break-ins. Home owners are going to be increasingly concerned about security this year as crime rates appear set to go up. For installers, this provides a great opportunity to supplement their existing product ranges with product like Ring. You can have a super secure window and door, which is great, but additional tech products, like cameras, sensors and lights are a great way to provide the complete package to a home owner and help increase revenues if you’re an installer.
Outdoor living products
Things might be a bit tough this year for home owners, as the economy shows signs of slowing both domestically and abroad. So major ticket purchases such as £30,000 orangeries and £25k window replacements might be a bit thin on the ground.
However, there are products out there which can change how a garden is used without costing big bucks. Those would be products like Verandahs, Pergolas and other products that go under the banner “outdoor living” products.
A number of suppliers in the industry have their own veranda product now, ranging from simple structures to really sleek high-end affairs. But the cost for such things compared to a brand new glazed extension is a great deal less, with much less labour involved too. Spanning big areas, they can transform the back of a house without going the whole hog of a new extension. A bit more budget friendly, quicker to install and less physical work.
Installers should be looking at alternatives like this if they think 2019 could be a bit of a tricky year when it comes to new-build extensions or big refurbishment projects. Expect to see a lot more news about this product type in 2019.
Agree? Disagree? Have I missed something glaringly obvious out? Have your say in the comments section below and lets get the debate going!
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