It’s all a bit doom and gloom at the moment, but it would be disingenuous to suggest that everything was going south at the moment. There are in fact areas in our industry that should experience some decent levels of growth throughout this year. So if you’re looking to make some decent margin this year, get involved with these five areas of the industry:

Composite doors

This area of the market has grown strongly since the very first composite doors arrived in the UK market place. Their existence gave home owners an alternative to the plain old panelled doors sold for previous decades on end. Colour, true door design choice, funky hardware options. These doors were a much needed breath of fresh air to the entrance door market.

Since then, the market hasn’t looked back. Companies like Door-Stop, Solidor and Distinction have grown into giants of that market, helping to ensure that composite doors are a well known and highly sought after home improvement product.

There will be growth in this market again this year. Other niches are retreating, the door panel market is shrinking, with demand for that type of product waning. There will be a scramble from other companies to grab the market share being given up to help boost their own businesses.

Composite doors will be strong again this year, and I fully expect the 2017 market reports to say very much the same thing.

Aluminium bi-folding doors

Although I predict that aluminium will experience growth in the residential sector this year, I suspect that the main driver of that growth will be found in the bi-folding door part of that market.

Despite the lack of a decent climate, the British public have fallen in love with bi-folding doors. We can thank Grand Designs and programmes of similar ilk for that. No matter though. We have seen a swift rise in the number of companies getting into the aluminium bi-folding door market, all hoping to cash in on this wave of enthusiasm for this celebrated product.

I do feel like the market is getting a tad crowded now. There are reports of adverts in various trade publications advertising prices that are more akin to the PVCu bi-fold sector. A race to the bottom in this part of the aluminium market would be a disaster for the product. Quality has to remain key when it comes to aluminium bi-folds as home owners have been conditioned to expect a certain level of quality.

Still, I don’t see their popularity dipping any time soon, and fully expect strong growth this year.

Lantern roofs/skylights

It may sound a bit like a record on repeat, but the lantern roof market is perhaps the most red hot market in our sector right now.

There is a major battle going on for the supremacy in this niche between some of the established companies and some of the slick newcomers. As a spectator, it’s going to be fun watching it all play out. For the companies involved, it’s going to be exciting to see how much sales of their individual products grow this year. I suspect quite a bit.

Not only is the flat roof market an untapped gold mine, just waiting for lantern roofs to come along and brighten up the rooms below, but the conservatory replacement/refurbishment market is also an area for lanterns ad skylights to make the most of. There are millions of both, which means for the foreseeable future, and certainly this year, there is plenty of potential growth to be had.

Vertical sliders

The last Insight Data market report showed the number of installers fitting vertical sliders rising significantly:

That’s a jump of just over 600 installers. That’s no fluke either. A rise of 600 installers fitting sash windows indicates a strong resurgence for the product, and I fully expect the same to happen this year.

Home owners are after something more traditional once again, but using modern materials. PVCu vertical sliders, at least the quality ones, give home owners that option. Expect this to be a strong niche in 2016.

Timber alternative PVCu

Keeping on the same track of home owners yearning for something traditional, it is this demand which has helped boost the timber alternative PVCu market bloom from niche to full blown sector.

Whispers from various sources tell me that the two big heavyweights in this area have a long list of new products either in development or due for launch at this year’s FIT Show. If you’re going, be sure to visit the timber alternative stands.

As for demand, I can see this area seeing strong growth during 2016. If home owners are going to go for PVCu windows and doors, even if they prefer timber, it will be these sorts of products they go for.

Other sectors to watch:

  • integral blinds – I’ve got a hunch that it could be another strong year for integral blinds in 2016.
  • triple glazing – it may not burst out of it’s shell this year, but I won’t be surprised if in 2017 market reports show steady growth for this product type
  • coloured entrance doors – home owners don’t want what their neighbours want, expect some very funky coloured doors to be installed this year
  • solid roofs – is it me, or has the steam left the solid roof sector just a little bit of late? Still, I think 2016 should see steady growth in the solid roof sector

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