At the start of the year I asked readers what their outlook was for 2019. A year which promised all sorts of challenges and obstacles, and not all of them Brexit. We’re six weeks in now so it’s a good time to look at the results and try to look forward and see what the industry might have in store for us.
Here is the question and the answers it garnered:
I would say that’s a pretty mixed bag, with no answer absolutely running away with it. There is a majority for the more positive two top answers over the rest, but it’s not emphatic. I do wonder if I posed the same poll now to readers, as we edge closer to Brexit day and the fresh news today the UK GDP growth was slower than expect if these answers would be different. Perhaps this will be a question to ask again in April once Brexit has (at the time of writing) happened and we have 2019 Q1 GDP figures.
The positive to take from this is that the industry isn’t feeling too negative out there. Yes some chose to vote for a “negative” or “very negative” answer, but that doesn’t represent the majority. You can also see via social media anecdotal accounts of installers and fabricators being very busy. Although as with everything on social media I would take it with a pinch of salt. No company would actually go online to announce that they’re quite would they?
In a flat economy, even a recessionary one, there are always opportunities, and in 2019 there remains niches in the window and door industry that are ripe for profitable business.
As I have touched on in previous posts, flat skylights are going to be a new niche for installers and fabricators to make the most of this year. As home owners consider whether to move or stay in the properties they already have, some will prefer to consider how to go about improving their current homes instead. This is where flat skylights and lantern roofs in general become a key product area. There are millions of flat roofs in the UK, many in kitchens and dining rooms, ideal rooms where more light and vertical views can make a huge difference.
More and more people are talking up the chances of a recession later on this year. If this is the case, big ticket items tend to drop down the list of essential purchases for home owners. So, contracts for a house full of new windows, new-build extensions and conservatories may start to dry up. However, items like single door purchases could become more popular. Recession or not, doors will still need replacing. What we may find is that home owners put off bigger window purchases but decide to replace smaller but more important items like entrance doors. Given the major popularity of composite doors already, this product group stands in good stead to make the most of that should it happen.
Are White windows and doors really that inspiring? The growing trend for coloured windows and doors would suggest otherwise. For installers looking to add something very different to their offering to home owners, colours are a simple and accessible way to change things up. Whether it’s coloured foils, widely available from most fabricators, or colour spraying specialists such as Kolorseal who can custom spray any PVCu or aluminium fenestration product any colour you want, colour is one of the key inspiring factors for home owners now.
These are just a few ideas. There are plenty of areas for growth in UK fenestration should the more proactive installers and fabricators seek them out. My prediction for the rest of this year? It’s going to get bumpy as we head into Spring and Brexit day. After that, things will calm and I think the second half of 2019 could be pretty good so long as calm heads prevail and trading infrastructure is put in place.
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