I got a bit confused the other day. Doesn’t take much sometimes! I’ll explain why…

The most recent market report from Market & Business Development (MBD) has said that the industry is now worth a combined total of £3.2billion. Growth in the industry was restricted at 1%, but growth in a market where the economy has been suffering a very long winded recession is nothing to be sniffed at.

They also expect the industry to grow to a value of £3.5billion by the year 2017, with each year showing moderate levels of growth. They expect that improving housing prices and financial availability to help move things along too.

One thing that did surprise me is that they expect the conservatory market to grow to £1billion. This is despite market conditions indicating that the arse has fallen out of the conservatory market in recent years. What I would like to know is what exactly they mean by the term ‘conservatory’. If they mean the standard white plastic box stuck on the back of the house then I disagree with them. That market is certainly NOT going to grow. Especially not that value! If by ‘conservatory’ they include projects like Loggia’s, orangeries and other forms of glazed extensions, then yes I would be happy to go along with that projection.

If you read the report, it’s basically saying growth. Moderate, possibly sluggish, but no backwards movement. So here’s the thing that confused me. On the GGP website it had the report on growth from MBD, then right next to it has a report from FENSA about the falling number of window and door installations. When you read those figures, it really does make for depressing reading.

FENSA say that the number of window and door installations for the quarter ending Sept 2012 are down 5.5% compared to the same quarter in 2011. If you compare that to the peak year of 2007 before the financial crisis, installations are down a whopping 35%! Now bear in mind that 92.5% of all window and door installations are covered by FENSA (according to DCLG), this is a good and accurate representation of the industry as a whole.

So what do we believe is right? Has the industry grown over the last few years? I’ve always believed it hasn’t grown, I’ve been of the opinion that the industry has severely back tracked since 2008, not grown as MBD is suggesting. I also think that if you look at FENSA’s figures, the next 4 years are also going to be quite painful. I must admit that I’m leaning towards FENSA’s figures as being the more accurate given that they cover almost all window and door installations in the UK and are able to give quarterly breakdowns.

Here’s the other thing to consider. While numbers may be depressed and the number of contracts being sold is decreasing, what I have found this year through personal experience is the value of the contracts being sold are far more valuable. This year compared to 2011, we’ve sold far more house fulls of windows and doors compared to single items. This may go some to explain why FENSA has reported lower registered installations and MBD’s report of growing market valuations.

That’s just my take on matters. What do you guys think?