As promised in my review of the year, this is my take on what we can look forward to next year, and how the industry looks set to perform. So here we go…
WER’s Vs U-Values
I mentioned in the post before this one that the increase in triple glazing I have predicted for next year is going to bring with it the argument of WER’s and U-Values. I’ve not seen any mention of WER’s with triple glazing, with U-Values being the preferred unit of measurement. Yet it is completely the other way round with double glazing.
2014 I believe is going to be the year when the industry really does start to grapple with the inaccuracies of WER’s and start to explore the idea of using U-Values in a much bigger way, to help educate the public about this more accurate way of measuring energy efficiency.
I think the U-Value debate has lacked a bit of cause. It has needed a reason, more than just accuracy, to kick start it in to life. Well if triple glazing does take off next year, I believe it is a debate which has to be had.
After the success of the FiT Show in 2013, there will be even more pressure to build upon that success this year.
I think it’s fair to say that many were surprised that another show was booked just one year after the last. Many were predicting the exhibition to run every two years to prevent boredom of the event. But, as was explained, they want to build on the hype and enthusiasm and make 2014 the year that the show is really cemented into the industry.
In 2014 expectations will be high. Most will be expecting and event that surpasses what they saw in 2013, and with the little snagging points like the car parking and Wi-Fi issues to be solved for this time.
Given the number of exhibitors already signed up however, I don’t think there will be much to worry about and we can all look forward to another 3 days of enjoying the very best the industry has to show us.
Social Media Expansion
I really do think that social media is going to become far more mainstream than it is right now in 2014. Whilst most have been getting to grips with things like Twitter this year, I believe more and more companies are going to start to integrate their marketing into various social media platforms now that they have learned what its about and how they can best use it to their advantage.
As many of you know, I practically live out my life on Twitter most days and have found it an excellent tool in making new contacts. I use it heavily to promote both this site and the National Fenestration Awards and the platform has helped the awareness of both the sites massively. I have been banging this drum for years now on how businesses in our sector really should be getting stuck in with this on a B2B level. It still has some way to go before consumers start interacting with installers, but using it to establish business-to-business relationships has proved productive so far.
I think 2014 will be there year we see a lot more companies launch social media-specific campaigns to raise awareness of their business and products.
If you’re reading this and still not on social media in some way, then you or your business is missing out big time in my opinion.
Stronger Growth Figures
As some of the FENSA quarterly figures have shown throughout this year, things are definitely back on the up for us all.
2013 has been the first year in quite a few years where we have seen signs of repetitive quarterly growth compared with 2012 and I think we were all glad to be reading those sorts of numbers. Although we’re not quite back up to pre-recession levels, I firmly believe that 2014 is going to be the year that our industry consolidates those gains and starts to make a real push for very strong growth over the next 12 months.
All the signs for this are there. Unemployment is on the way down, with some very positive figures being released this month. Consumer confidence continues to rise, as does the levels of construction in the UK. Add that to house prices rising and forecast to continue in to 2014, all the economic conditions are there for spending on home improvements like new windows and doors.
The economy is still not perfect though, and there remains scope for more consolidation within the industry, which leads me on to the next section…
One More Buyout
For me, there remains still a few too many systems houses and major manufacturers for the industry right now. If you look at the market report from Insight Data it shows this clearly.
I personally think that 2014 will hold one more major buyout or merger of one of the major companies within the industry. Perhaps not on the same scale as the VEKA purchase of Halo, but one that will cause big enough shockwaves. There still isn’t the capacity of business out there to sustain the number of companies that we have currently.
I’m not quite sure who it might be. I have a few ideas, but it’s Christmas and I don’t want any hassle, so I’ll keep some of those names in my head!
The NFA’s are a project Lee (MyTradeTV) and myself are looking to expand in 2014. We’ve had such a great response this first year and we’ll be looking to grow and improve going into the next 12 months to get even more areas of the industry involved.
We’re hoping to increase the number of award categories, expand the Cool Wall and reach out to more areas of the industry by expanding how we advertise ourselves. It’s going to mean a bit more work, but now I’ve moved in my house, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem now!
Mixing It up
2014 is going to be a year where even more installers are going to continue to diversify their product ranges. The recent Insight Data report revealed that nearly half of all installers had added at least one different material to their portfolio. I believe that 2014 will be a year where that ratio is going to get much higher.
The growth in this trend is going to be pushed by the consumer demanding a wider range of products for projects such as new builds and larger scale construction works.
Most will know me for being a bit pessimistic when it comes to these sorts of posts. But I am genuinely feeling very positive for the coming 12 months. There are lots of reasons to be cheerful about 2014 and I’m hopeful that by the end of next year a lot of us will be reporting record years and lots of positive progress.
Of course these are only predictions and I could be completely wrong, so lets see how we get on ;-)