The end of 2014 ended so positively didn’t it. After many of us were having the best year in six or seven years, the outlook for 2015 looked bright, if not booming. Even all the market reports at the end of the year were saying that 2015 was going to be a year of growth and that we can expect to a long period of growth in the years to come. So where is that rip-roaring start we all expected?

No walk in the park

It seems to me that if we’re going to surpass the success in 2014, it’s going to be more hard work than many of us thought. I have been speaking to a few people over the last week or so, and it seems that the industry might still be waiting for business to really get going. Unlike the beginning of last year which seemed to be hell for leather for the first six months, this January seems to have to limped into life with a bit of a whimper.

Something seems to have changed over Christmas. I can’t quite put my finger on it but the brash confidence that seemed to be coming back to the general public may have just slipped back. I get the sense that caution might be on the rise once again, putting some people off from thinking about the larger scale home improvements, like new windows and doors.

It’s becoming clear though that if we’re to beat 2014’s revenues, we’re going to have to put a serious shift in to make sure we get past that post.

What might cause caution?

Well, despite the fact that the UK economy continues to grow and out-grow much of the developed world, the balance of our recovery is less than equal. For example it was only at the start of this week when the papers reported that the North-South divide was getting far worse. They carried a worrying statistic that for every 12 jobs created in the South, 1 job is actually lost. More money is being spent down south, more infrastructure development is happening in the south, in fact most attention in all sectors is being given down south. The inequality in the northern economy versus the south is massive, and it’s getting worse. So when you hear northerners complaining that life in general is a bit tougher up here, consider that jobs statistic I’ve just mentioned, we’re probably justified.

Although inflation is falling rapidly, fuel costs are at six year lows and weekly food shopping cheaper than ever, not as much cash is being left in people’s pockets as you might think. Inflation might be falling, but wages aren’t exactly rising either. Perhaps if wages had risen a bit more before these price falls, the public might feel a bit better about spending their extra earnings.

The other factor might be a simple one. Christmas spending hangovers might still be weighing heavy on people’s accounts and some might just be waiting to recoup some cash before they go spending it on their homes. I suspect that this is the reason over anything else. A good 2014 meant people may have spent more over the Christmas period, setting them back a bit further on the home improvements temporarily down the list.

Has it been busy for you?

It would be good to get a quick opinion from more of you. Just let me know via the poll below. Or, as always, if you want to add to the debate or tell me where I’ve gone wrong, leave your comments in the section below and I’ll ensure to publish them ASAP.

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