You will have noticed now that the days are getting longer. The threat of snow is all but a distant memory and temperatures are very slowly starting to creep just a tad further up the thermometer. Yes Spring is almost on it’s way and it could shape up to be a bumper one.
Weather, economy and pre-election
There are three main factors that could combine to create a bumper spring for the industry and that is the weather, the economy and the period before the upcoming election.
We have already heard on Monday that the CBI has raised it’s growth forecast for the UK for 2015 from 2.5% to 2.7%, due to record low inflation and the recent massive drop in the oil price over the past six months. We’re also due to hear on Tuesday the latest inflation figures. My bet is that they’ll edge down a bit further as the drop in oil continues to feed through the rest of the economy and the supermarkets continue their price war against each other. All of this combines to give more people real cash to spend – a good thing for us as it frees up more resources to buy bigger ticket items like a door or a couple of windows.
The other good news to bear in mind is that most think-tanks see wages rising quite a bit faster than inflation throughout 2015. This again means more real cash for people to potentially spend, another good signal for us.
The weather is also going to play a factor. It was only a couple of Springs ago that we were digging out livestock from record snowdrifts and freezing cold temperatures at Easter time. But there doesn’t seem much chance of that happening now. And if we can have a few dry, warm weeks at the beginning of the season, it can prove to be a useful boost to us as homeowners start to venture back outside properly and look at their homes in a bit more detail.
Then there is the period before the General Election. In my previous post I wrote about how the election and it’s result could ruin the feel-good factor the UK economy has in places right now. However I think right up until voting, people will continue to be determined to spend and improve their homes whilst they know who is actually in power. It won’t be until after the result and another probable hung parliament that people might start to hold off until they know which direction the country might be headed in.
Back to seasonal trends
Looking at the general start to the year, I think January reverted back to trend. We have been spoiled I think by a few better-than-expected Januaries. And after a bumper 2014 for many, I think we could have all been a bit guilty of getting carried away with the prospects for this January. As many will tell you, it was quiet for most of us. But then again, it generally always was.
But February is the month where the industry shows some signs of life, and for me, and others I have spoken to in the industry, it seems that the energy is now starting to return. Sales seem to be up, lead levels are healthy and there is a general buzz coming back. I’ll review the month properly as it ends, but I think a strong February will lead us into a great Spring.
How has the year started for you? Could Spring 2015 be a bumper period or will business be tough? All comments welcome in the section below.