I think if I could describe the opening of 2016 in one word is would be “grinding”. UK and world markets have taken a battering with their worst start recorded in years. Oil keeps finding new lows. UK manufacturing is on the slowdown in a big way. Across the other side of the world China and it’s $28tn debt bubble is threatening to burst as their economy seems unable to put the brakes on their slowdown. Add to that the weather has turned decidedly like Winter, the mood for new windows and doors might not be as positive as we’d like.
Right now I see a struggle. As report after report comes out from companies, the latest being SIG, warning of challenging times ahead for our industry and the UK economy as a whole, many of us, and rightly, are trying to remain positive, deciding to shun the reports and focus on things at home. We have to remain positive. Negativity will only drag things down quicker. But we must also take in a dose of reality. That reality is that our economy, our window and door industry, just doesn’t have the growth we thought it would have by now.
It’s not just me that thinks this. Check out this tweet reply from MBA Associates:
@glazingblogger Certainly how we'd see the market, flat really & no one should expect the market to rescue poor performance— MBA Associates (@MBAAssociates) January 14, 2016
I was replying to a report they had tweeted a link to where SIG Trading had described the coming year as flat and not all that positive.
One very obvious trend and buzzword so far this year is the use of “challenging”. SIG must be the fifth or sixth company to have used that word to describe their thoughts on this coming year. But to try and get the perspective of our industry, and that of different market segments, I have set up three dedicated polls below.
One for installers, one for fabricators and manufacturers and one for the systems companies. They all ask the same question, but it’s been split to see if different areas of the UK glazing sector have differing opinions on where they see the market going this year.
They’re all anonymous polls, often the best way to get some honest results. Before you leave this post today, please take a second to vote in the poll that you fall in, and contribute your honest opinion.
What is the point?
For me, polls like this do have their uses. Firstly, it gives us a rough temperature of the mood in the market place right now. From there we can start to gather an idea as to the performance of our industry over the coming 12 months.
These polls also gives us the chance to react to changes before they happen. If, for example, these polls show results that our industry believes we’re headed on a downward path, businesses could use that as a heads up and make changes to their companies to try and get ahead of the curve.
The more information and feedback we all have the better prepared we can all be. Obviously this isn’t 100% accurate. But the more that place their votes, the better the general mood we can ascertain.
There are risks out there that we do have to be aware of, it’s just good business sense. All being well these current bumps in the road smooth out and we can get back to more positive outlooks.