The battle, if there ever was one, between the PVCu and aluminium sectors, is over. And has been for a while. Although the two sectors will always remain competitors, they now compete in a much changed market. A market where consumer demand for choice and personalisation has driven one of the biggest shifts in the installation market.
Now, they share a market where there is prosperity for both.
Aluminium out from the cold
Not so long ago, the idea that the aluminium sector would make such a storming comeback in the residential market would have been laughed off as fanciful. PVCu was very much top of the pile, with aluminium very far behind in second, and timber even further behind in third.
All sectors seemed to be taking swipes at the PVCu part of the market. Then, something changed. Home owners began to demand more options than the norm they had been putting up with. That demand saw the rise of the PVCu timber alternative market, which is now growing strongly. But it also helped to revive the aluminium market, crucially, in the residential market.
Traditionally, aluminium was strongest in the commercial sector. Nothing could come close to it. But a raft of new residential window and door products had helped to shift the stuffy, clunky old image of aluminium. Now, home owners were looking at residential aluminium that they could get excited about.
Aluminium had come out of the cold, and was now proper competition for the PVCu sector.
A battle of sorts
There was now a natural competition between the two sectors in the residential market. The new age of aluminium windows and doors really did put PVCu under pressure. It became a battle for the attention of installers up and down the country. A nice natured battle, but a battle nonetheless.
It didn’t quite play out like a battle though. And that is down to what installers wanted. It was never going to be the case. Instead of one sector taking over from the other, in this case aluminium stealing a majority of work from the PVCu sector, installers looked to widen their product portfolios.
Installers were now offering home owners a choice of PVCu and aluminium, and in same cases all three with timber too. All main material sectors were getting a piece of the pie. Not being frozen out altogether. Great news for home owners. Great news for the aluminium market too.
Naturally, there has been some re-balancing going on in the market. The losing party in this case is the PVCu market. Since the renaissance of the aluminium market, you have to expect that some sales which might have been previously made in PVCu are now being made in aluminium because customers now have a high quality choice. Over the coming years, there will be more market re-balancing as aluminium becomes even more mainstream. PVCu sales from installers will fall, not in huge numbers, but some percentage will be replaced by sales in aluminium.
These are exciting, competitive times that our industry is going through at the minute. There will be future battles within to be fought. Industry dynamics will change. Products will improve. There will be new products too. We should all be working hard to make sure we all get a piece of the pie.
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