If you were to ask most installers if they thought 2016 had been a good year for business, then most might say yes. Despite Brexit. Despite political upheaval here, in Europe and the US. There was no shortage of doom predictions prior to the vote. Yet it didn’t persuade people to vote to stay in the European Union.

Nearly 6 months on from the historic vote, those doom predictions are now looking rather fanciful and exaggerated. That’s not to say risks have all fully diminished. But, according to the latest CPA report, 79% of polled installers have reported that Brexit has had no negative effect on consumer spending since the referendum announcement.

The poll, carried out by Insight Data for the Consumer Protection Association, asked over 12,000 installers questions about the performance of their business and predictions for the industry in the coming year.

79% to 21%

Four fifths is a resounding result. No arguing with those figures. However, when asked about prospects for 2017, installers we less bullish. 41% said they will see growth next year, 41% said it would stay the same, and 14% said it would decrease. Not a clear picture on that front. 34% also said that they expected consumer spending to rise next year, 45% said it would stay the same and 17% said it would fall.

So despite a strong 2016, the medium term picture looks more sluggish, according to these figures. But here’s some more good news. When asked about profit margins this year compared to 2015, 34% said it had risen, 55% said it stayed at current levels, with only 10% saying it had fallen. So fairly strong figures from UK glazing’s installation community.

Read more about the CPA report here

Here’s a differing opinion though. Of those polled, 72% said that they expected sales to increase, with just 3% saying they thought it would decrease. This doesn’t really line up with 2017 growth expectations as mentioned above. So what do installers really believe is coming in 2017? If the majority are expecting sales to increase, perhaps it will be a smaller than expected increase, with good margins, but slightly slower than previously expected.

Either which way, it’s very hard to tell at this time.

DGB Business

An uncertain year

I think that the poll shows that no one really knows what is coming in 2017. In the report, we have installers saying that growth and consumer spending might be a bit pedestrian during the next 12 months, yet 72% say that they expect sales to increase. Well you can only have one or the other. And we’ll really only know which one we got as we near the end of next year.

The good news however is that nothing is set in stone. So many times we have seen economic forecasts and predictions proved to be well below the mark, with the UK economy performing far better than the forecasts predicted. We’re more resilient, agile and positive than we give ourselves credit for. And this I believe will be the case next year. As a whole, the UK economy is predicted to grow 1.1% next year and by 1.4% in 2018. I believe that it will be higher than this. Growth of 1.8% this year has already been revised up to 2.1%.

So long as everyone in the UK glazing supply chain continues to keep their foot on the gas, get heads down and do the real hard work, we should experience decent growth for the next couple of years, despite Brexit.

We should also give ourselves much more credit than I believe we don’t always do. We have some smart people in our industry, as the head of our biggest companies. Whilst Brexit brings it’s risks, it will also bring us opportunities. We have to make sure we spot them and make the most of them as and when the EU negotiations begin and the lay of the land becomes clearer.

Hopefully, 2017 won’t be anywhere near as dramatic as this year. I think we’re all looking to put this most tumultuous of years behind us.

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