It’s a question that I think is always on the minds of many in the industry. Could we ever reach a true saturation point? Could there ever come a time where for a period, the majority of all windows and door that could be sold and installed, have been? Of course that would be a disastrous outcome for the industry, and would most certainly decimate much of it.
But is it actually a scenario that could even play out in the real world?
Take a company like Solidor for example, who make thousands upon thousands of doors every single month. In fact they make over 60,000 doors per year alone. Now take into consideration other major manufacturers of composite doors, like Rocal, Door-Stop, Rockdoor and Distinction to name just a few. Add their yearly totals together and in the composite sector alone there are massive amounts of doors being installed. Where can they all be going? There’s only so many doors you can fit.
The window sector is the same. Medium sized fabricators can churn out 15oo-2500 frames per week. Super fabricators can produce three of four times that per week. Add the number of fabricators together and again, the numbers really start to stack up. Where are all these windows going? There’s only so many homes they can be installed into.
From a purely numbers perspective, it’s easy to think that at some point soon, we’re going to hit a brick wall, “peak fenestration” if you will. But the reality is a little different.
Creating the need
First of all, by the time all the windows and doors that could possibly be installed have been installed, it will be time to start replacing those. It would take decades. There are 26.5m households in the UK. That’s not including commercial buildings.
According to the last Insight Data Market Report, there are 12,609 installers, and only 78 of those fit more than 501 frames per week. Even just taking an average number of windows and doors per household, that would mean many hundreds of millions of units would have to be installed by a relatively small number of installers in such a rapid time frame as to reach this hypothetical saturation point.
It would never happen. The industry is understaffed as it is, and demand from home owners would never be that high. And even if it was, it would take decades and very much like the Forth Bridge, by the time it’s all done, it would be time to start again.
It’s a constant cycle, and one that is maintained by need, and the creation of those needs, whatever they are, by the industry.
For example, not so long ago traditional PVCu hit it’s glass ceiling and interest in aluminium and timber products started to rise. So the PVCu sector got it’s heads together and started to bring out timber alternative ranges such as Residence 9 and Evolution. Then Flush systems became very popular. Now we all see how popular these niches have become and have reinvigorated the PVCu sector of the glazing market.
The entrance door market did exactly the same thing with composite doors. That particular sector wasn’t really going anywhere. Then boom! The first few composite door products hit the market, gave home owners an excuse to buy a new front door, and the rest is history as they say.
It will never happen
So in truth, a true saturation point will never happen. Yes there could be periods of stagnation and plateauing, which can be caused by external economic influences. But you wouldn’t be able to call it saturation.
For one reason or another, be it aesthetics, improved energy efficiency, functionality or sound reduction, home owners will always need windows and doors, whether their existing ones last five years or fifty years.
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