Where does this year go? I find it hard to believe that we’re already at the end of March and already at the end of the first quarter. I’ll be doing a review of Q1 in a different post. But as usual, I’ll be breaking up various bit of the industry and DGB in this monthly review, and the results make for some less than straightforward reading.
March, just like January
March is often seen as the month where the industry, at least the residential part, really starts to step up a gear. The weather (usually) improves a little, allowing homeowners to inspect what damage the Winter has done. The clocks go forward, making the days longer. Any Christmas debt is usually paid off by now and the kids are back at school and out from under the feet of mums and dads. So you would expect then, in a UK economy that is supposed to be outperforming every other major economy in the world, that our own window and door sector to be picking up the pace. Well, going on what I have seen myself, and what others have told me publicly and privately, this isn’t the case.
From what many of said, March doesn’t seem to be any better than January. February proved quite a good month for a lot of us, both in sales and leads terms. But March seems to have failed to build on that progress. But lets be fair when we analyse this. During the first half of 2014 we were treated to an extraordinary 6 months. The energy levels many of us were experiencing in leads and sales had been unlike many years previously. There showed no signs of it stopping. The normal seasonal trends had gone out of the proverbial window. It was a fluke. So when we look back at this month and the last 3, perhaps we shouldn’t be too harsh on ourselves. It’s more than likely that the levels of business done are in fact at a decent level, so the fact they haven’t broken last years Q1 figures shouldn’t be taken too seriously.
General Election 2015 launch
The end of March saw the beginning of something which I believe could have a big impact on all business, not just ours. The 2015 General Election. Right now, no party is even close to winning a majority to form the next Government, meaning another hung Parliament. But with voting so fractured and more and more parties eating away at the established parties, the make-up of the next Government is a complete guess. This means uncertainty. And there is nothing worse for business, including our own industry, than uncertainty.
If people start to stop spending as a reaction to either the next Government, or at least while the next Government is being formed, it’s going to have quite a negative impact on business. And first on the lists to put on back burners will be big ticket items like windows, doors and glazed extensions.
March started off well for DGB. Traffic was almost 10% up in all areas, which is obviously good news. However as the month started to move on, things started to drop off. The reason being was the winners event for the National Fenestration Awards. It took up so much of my time in the days leading up to and after it, that new content published on here dried up. It had a massive impact on traffic, so in the end, it was only the number of page views that was up compared to March 2014. Both visitors and unique visitors were slightly down. That’s my own fault, and I will be working hard to make sure that April more than makes up for that quiet spell!