I started the week on what some will see as a bit of a negative tone. You can catch my post asking the question as to what is the biggest problem for the fenestration industry right now by clicking here.

The last poll I ran on DGB however asked how the first half of 2019 had been. The answer that came back was a pretty positive one, despite all the headwinds out there.

Better than expected

This was the question I posed to my Twitter followers last time round, and the answers they gave back:

Given the amount of trouble that seems to be brewing in all sorts of places, I’d say that if nearly half are saying that the first half of this year was better than expected then we should take that happily.

Granted, if you combine the other votes then this year has either been similar to last year or worse. But, the positive answer got the most by far so that cannot be dismissed.

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Nuggets of prosperity

Within a recent post, which covered the H1 results of Safestyle UK, it was noted that FENSA’s own figures had the industry down 7.8% in terms of volume. Thats not an insignificant number, and one we should all be taking note of seriously.

That being said, if the industry is down nearly 8% in volume, that doesn’t mean every company is going down the swanny. It could simply mean that in a tough trading environment, the more agile companies are stealing market share from their competitors, whilst the bigger companie who rely on volume are struggling to keep the business coming in.

For example, Deceuninck have just announced that they are up a staggering 18% in sales year-on-year compared to July 2018. up nearly 30% on the rest of the market. You can read more about that here. When you look at what they have been doing over the past couple of years, they have been one of the most proactive and diversified systems companies when it comes to colour and stock, and have a product fabricators are happy to make and installers are happy to fit. All in all, a great way to win business over your competitors who might be standing still or not as engaged in progress as they ought to be.

So, we see patches of prosperity around the industry, which are of course to be celebrated. But whilst some companies are on the up, if volume is down by so much, then you have to consider that more widely the industry is struggling. Question is, at whose expense? Is it the SMEs, who are struggling to find good, qualified installers? Is it the nationals, whose business models haven’t changed for so long?

Time will tell. I think the rest of the year could be a very turbulent one for UK fenestration. There’s a lot going on, with the rumour mill in constant drive, and over-capacity of companies in the market compared to demand. The sector might look very different once again in 12 months time.

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