Most of you have now probably had time to read and digest the new market report from Insight Data, and it revealed some very striking statistics. To see them in a very cool infographic which I published yesterday, click here. So this is my analysis of the industry according to the report.

Regional Variation

The first thing that jumps out at me are the stats for the number of fabricators per region. For example, my county of Yorkshire has the second highest at 507. Compare that to the whole of Wales, which has 247, we have more than double the number of fabricators! To me we are very over-populated, which is leaving many scrapping over the last few bits of the market share.

I suppose what it does show is how competitive the fenestration sector is in the county. We certainly do have a very vibrant and active double glazing sector here. I can’t tell you exactly why, but we do.


According to the report, there are 2343 timber fabricators compared to 1622 PVCu fabricators. On first glance it looks like timber has a very dominant position over PVCu and the other materials. But the report does explain that the majority of those are small, local joiners doing very small volumes. Which probably places PVCu back at the top of the pile.

But it is also interesting to see that aluminium is continuing to make it’s comeback. This definitely isn’t a flash in the pan and we’re going to see the popularity of aluminium rise in the years to come. But a word of warning to all those in the aluminium business: don’t do what the PVCu sector did when it first started out. Don’t go cheap and don’t let product quality suffer. This is what the PVCu sector did in it’s infancy and only now is it managing to recover and start producing really high quality products. There is a risk that if everyone joins the aluminium bandwagon, the raised competition will lead to severe under-cutting, quality shortcuts, manufacturing problems and other issues associated with mass production.

However, all is not well in the PVCu fabrication sector. In 2008 there were a grand total of 2370 PVCu fabricators. I think we can all say that this was too many. So then the recession hit, and the current number of PVCu fabricators stands at 1622. That means 748 companies have gone from that part of the market. That’s a lot of jobs lost. But the market was far too saturated for the economic conditions at the time and this reduction is the streamlining of the market it needed.

Less Than 100 Frames

The number of PVCu fabricators making less than 100 frames a week remains high. In fact 65% of PVCu fabricators pump out less that 100 frames per week. This is fine if a company fabricates as well as installs. But for a company to solely fabricate, less than 100 frames per week is still a very small number and will make trading in the fenestration sector very difficult. I’ve never understood how a company making a few dozen frames a week can remain profitable.

One thing that stood out in this part of the report is the number of PVCu fabricators turning to other product to expand their portfolios. 238 PVCu fabricators now fabricate aluminium as well. This equates to 17.5% of the total PVCu sector. It’s a clear demonstration that aluminium is firmly back in the game.


There are now a total of 12,498 installation companies in the UK right now, a big rise from 12 months ago according to the report. Worryingly, this is down to general builders trying to make in the window industry. In total, there are 20,651 general builders active in the window industry. I say worryingly, as the building sector is notoriously bad at getting fenestration installations right. To a degree, builders should build, window companies should fit windows. Each should call upon the other if there are other works to be done.

One of the big issues our industry has always had was cowboys and unprofessional trades people. Right at the start when PVC jump started the market around 35 years ago, everyone seemed to jump on the bandwagon. This included trades of all types, looking to make a quick few quid. But this slapdash attempt at a window installations service led to numerous poorly fitted products and cheaply made frames. It did the industry no favours at all. Hence there should be a degree of concern at such a massive rise in installation companies.

47% of installers now offer more than one materials choice i.e PVCu as well as timber or aluminium. The number of installers offering aluminium products along with PVCu has risen nearly 50% over the last two years.


The number of window and door frames fitted per week per installation company has fallen. However, 29% of installers have reported order value increases, as well as 34% reporting higher profit margins. So despite a fall in frames, the all important margins appear to be back on the rise.

The composite door market continues to show bullish strength, with 7835 installers now offering composite doors. 639 installers offer more than one type of composite door product and that is a number that is rising according to the report.

One thing that the composite door industry probably needs to bear in mind is saturation. Whilst it’s great that so many companies and their customers want them on their homes, focus must remain on quality and service. Delivery times shouldn’t be too short that pressure is placed on the quality control procedures. Brands are also important. Companies should be careful not to over-populate the market with their products to the point where their doors are not seen as exclusive and high-end options.

Top 30 Turnover

Rank Company Name Turnover (£)

1. Anglian Windows Limited – £208,669,000

2. Everest Limited – £144,445,000

3. Style Group UK Limited – £110,242,918

4. A&B Glass Company Limited – £34,951,339

5. Camden Group Limited – £34,789,010

6. Crystal Windows & Doors Limited – £27,645,634

7. Sidey Limited – £24,763,594

8. Nationwide Windows Limited – £21,112,335

9. Total Glass Limited – £19,627,964

10. Sovereign Group Limited – £19,211,600

11. C R Smith Glaziers (Dunfermline) Limited – £18,363,341

12. Polyframe (Trade) Limited – £16,907,922

13. CWG Choices Limited – £16,151,241

14. Affordable Window Systems Limited – £15,578,109

15. Warmseal Windows (Newcastle) Limited – £15,296,163

16. CMS Enviro Systems Ltd. – £14,987,214

17. Glazerite Windows Limited – £14,764,050

18. Tradelink Direct Limited – £14,126,835

19. Graham Holmes Astraseal Limited – £13,640,266

20. Dunraven Manufacturing Limited – £13,567,878

21. Consort Limited – £12,749,221

22. YWC Group Limited – £12,674,441

23. Garrard Windows Limited – £12,641,068

24. Customade (UK) Limited – £12,484,920

25. Emplas Window Systems Limited – £11,880,163

26. John Fredericks Plastics Limited – £11,711,000

27. Direct Trade (Yorkshire) Limited – £11,073,776

28. Modplan Limited – £11,071,451

29. Ford Windows Limited – £11,011,099

30. Sash UK Limited – £10,937,808

This is a very comprehensive list of some of the biggest companies in our industry, and it’s good to see that one of my sponsors has made it on to that list!

Overall, this is a fantastic report put together by Insight Data and they should be applauded for spending the time, effort and money in putting this together. It’s going to be something that a lot of companies will use in the future. It’s also going to prove very popular due to the fact that it’s free. Other reports produced such as Palmer, charge a fortune. In an age of free information and research, I believe Insight have got it right by making this report free and easily accessible. Hats off to them.

You can download a copy of the report here:

All comments welcome in the section below.