The window and door industry certainly knows where the future of the market lies, and it certainly isn’t lying at the bottom of the “value” end of the sector. It is the high end of the market that has progressed over the past five years or so, and is ensuring that the market continues to move with pace towards a more advanced and evolved state.
So, there is definitely a race to the top when it comes to product. But what is driving that race and who is winning, if there can be such a thing?
Driven by demand and competition
The industry is very different to what it was even just five years ago. The products now to products then are far more advanced in many ways, and the volume of choice is bigger too.
Primarily, it is home owner demand that has been the major factor. Shiny white windows and doors simply won’t cut it any longer. They want windows and doors that they can customize and design according to their own tastes. That means colour, profile choice, wood grains, a variety of hardware combinations, glazing upgrades and so on. They want what they want, not what everyone else has.
Manufacturers listened and got to work, and right now we can say with confidence that this is perhaps the most advanced, most innovative and most modern the UK fenestration market has ever been. There has been a plethora of new, high-end, aspirational window and door lines hitting the market, giving installers and home owners a range of choice they have never had before.
This in itself creates it’s own idiosyncrasies. From the perspective of the manufacturer, they do not want to be seen internally and externally as lagging behind the competition. So, they undertake large scale and rapid R&D work to either bring out completely new products, or to innovate and evolve existing ones to the point of being better than others. The byproduct of this is better ranges of fenestration products for installers, which means more choice and personlisation for home owners. A win-win-win.
Can there be a winner?
No, not really, as there are so many different products aimed at different areas of the market that to declare a winner would be pointless as next week a new product could be launched and that could be declared winners.
However there are leaders, and at the recent FIT Show, some of those leaders brought with them even more brand new products to demonstrate their forward thinking abilities.
MACO, as features above with their facial recognition lock concept stands out for me in the tech world. A brilliant concept that I seriously hope they will put into products. Prefix Systems launched Opus and a brand new Verandah that I would very much like on the back of my house! Ultraframe had one of the coolest innovations in their VR headset which displayed via a smartphone virtual showrooms – this by the way is the future and the window industry should seriously be getting on board with this in a big way.
Solidor pressed home their advantage in the composite door market with their brand new door designs, colours, website and cloud services. Residence 9 became the Residence Collection as they brought out three new suites of products to solidify their place as timber alternative specialists. Synseal brought our their hybrid WarmCore window to go with their superb WarmCore bi-folding door. I could go on.
Be part of the race
This race to the top isn’t going to end, and it will only become more and more competitive, if that can be believed. It’s important for installers and fabricators to get on board as the future of the sector lies in this race. Innovation and development stems from the high end of the market, and so do the profit margins that are worth working for.
These are exciting times for the industry, and where they will go in the coming years is certainly up for debate.