I find it hard to believe that we are now in the second half of the year and are now waving the first half away in the rear view mirror. And what a first half it has been. Perhaps one of the busiest for the industry in a long time, and one that has kept us all talking, whether it is exhibitions, politics, the weather or new products, there has been plenty for the industry to keep itself busy with.
So, it feels only right that as we enter part two of 2016, we take stock of what has been a very busy first half.
For a while, FENSA used to publish quarterly stats on how many installations had been registered with them. It used to be a decent barometer to understand how the industry was performing on a quarterly basis. However they scrapped that once MTC regulations came in and now we don’t really have any official stats to go on.
So I guess we can only go on anecdotal evidence for now, and the stats and figures from companies I have been able to speak to during the course of the year. And if we’re going by that, then the news is good news!
I think everyone accepts it was a fairly pedestrian start to the year. Particularly the first two or three weeks. It seemed like the country was getting over one hell of a hangover from the Christmas and New Year celebrations. But come the end of January things really picked up all over the place and we’ve not really taken the foot off the pedal since.
Although economically the UK hasn’t really bee in the best of health this year, I believe that the resilience of the fenestration industry in this country has ensured that our businesses have continued to do well. GDP predictions have been constantly revised down. We’re continuously told that austerity must remain to balance the books of the nation. Yet, the better of us are still finding business and winning it with seemingly good margins.
Given what has happened politically at the end of June though, will the positivity continue or will pessimism start to creep in?
Exhibition to show the way of the future
Everyone knows that this year’s FIT Show was a great success, and easily the biggest and perhaps most important industry exhibition for ten years. But it wasn’t the show, more what was on show that was most important.
For me, FIT Show 2016 demonstrated the direction the industry needs to go in in order to stay relevant and at the forefront of innovation. For example, there was perhaps more flush sash windows on show than traditional casements. Perhaps a sign that in the years to come, traditional PVCu casement windows may start to become a thing of the past, in favour of the the more timber-esque flush option. Consumer demand will drive this of course, but syscos wouldn’t be throwing their money behind it if they thought it wouldn’t work.
Then there is the tech. There was more door tech on show here than at any previous show. And it demonstrated that for the entrance door market to be as forward thinking as possible, it needs to embrace the tech that is out there and adapt to make the most of it all. Personally I’m quite excited about it. The key factor though is if the general public will buy into new concepts that ditch the traditional key.
Brexit & EUref
We can’t look back on the first half of this year without taking another quick look at the news that absolutely dominated June, and that was of course the news that the UK voted to leave the European Union.
Even now, nearly two weeks after the result, the dust continues to settle after the shock result, and we are still asking many questions about what it all means. But the fallout on the political stage since the poll has been nothing short of astounding.
Labour has proceeded to tear itself apart whilst attempting to remove Jeremy Corbyn from the head of the party, whilst his heels are dug firmly in and he refuses to resign. There is a big question now about whether the party can even survive all of this. Certainly at this moment in time, and perhaps up to the next scheduled General Election in 2020, they look set to be annihilated.
At the same time, David Cameron resigned sparking a leadership contest which saw Boris Johnson favourite and then withdraw after a very public front and back stabbing by Michael Gove. However it looks like at this present time that Theresa May and Andrea Leadsome appear to be the two leading ladies most likely to win the leadership contest and therefore become the new Prime Minister.
As you would expect, the markets took a beating the morning after the result was announced. The FTSe initially dropped 700 points and sterling dropped to $1.32 to the pound. However, markets rallied quickly and the FTSE now stands higher than it was pre-Brexit. Sterling though has made only small gains back. Ironically, good for UK tourism and exports.
In the end, the apocalyptic warnings of market chaos turned out to be way off the mark. Yes there was a reaction, but in the most part it has recovered. The best thing for businesses of all kinds now is to keep cool heads, assess the situation with facts not spin, and keep on doing the same hard work as they were before Brexit. Nothing has changed, and nothing will change until we do actually leave, which in reality may not be now until 1st January 2019.
I set myself some pretty high goals on this site right at the beginning of the year. First though is to ensure that the major stats like page views, visits and unique visitor numbers beat 2015 figures. And, so far so good…