Well, according to Palmer Market Research, we’re doing alright. In fact we’re doing so alright, we’re about to enter the…

‘longest period of growth since ’90s’

Bifold market shrinks in ’13


Value of market in ’13


Aluminium market share up


Comp door market share ’13


Right, enough of the funky graphics, time to drill down into what this means.

Solid, sustained growth

For the first time in a long time, market research companies are now able to tell us that we can expect continued good news for a reasonable amount of time. Despite a poor first quarter in 2013, the market very quickly turned itself around and it hasn’t really looked back since then. It’s still important to remember though that not EVERY company is experiencing this upturn. There are areas of the UK still lagging behind when it comes to the economic recovery. But generally speaking, things are looking up.

It’s also worth pointing out that the 2018 estimated market value is still less than the 2007 high. New build business has experienced the strongest rise, 17%, with residential work rising just 4%. So there is still some work to do in some areas of the industry. What is going to be key is continued investment in construction in both public and private projects. That is what has driven the strong growth in the new build sector and if it drops off, we could see PMR having to adjust their figures a bit in the years to come.

Surprise drop in bi-folds

One of the most surprising stats to come out of their report was the drop in the bi-fold market of 7%. Why? Well nothing obvious comes to mind. The rise in self-build and residential projects should normally point to a rise in higher end products like bifold doors. TV continues to promote the use of bifold, shows like Grand Designs love them. Is it just a blip? Probably. I can see Palmer reporting on an increase again in 2014.

Conservatories decline, replacements boom

PMR report a further 2% decrease in the conservatory market in 2013. However, replacement conservatories rose a dramatic 40%, and new installations rose 10%. What we’re seeing is what has been predicted for the last couple of years now, that the current crop of tired old conservatories are undergoing to some serious rehab to make them a room for the 21st century.

Items like Loggia, solid roofs etc are providing homeowners with an affordable, minimally disruptive way to turn a room that is too hot and too cold into a room that can be used throughout the year. There are still millions of untouched conservatories out there, so it’s fair to say that the replacement conservatory market is really just getting going!

Outlook: set fair

These are a good set of numbers for the industry to smile about. It’s nice to have something to look forward to. It’s worth saying that there will be some tricky situations to overcome. There is a general election coming up soon. That can sometimes affect spending habits and confidence of the general public. Interests rates will also be going up sooner rather than later. We’ll have to see what reaction, if any, the markets and the public have to that. And there are other external factors outside our control, such the festering crisis in Ukraine, the deepening Middle East conflict and devolution which are all probably worth keeping an eye on.