The landscape of the entrance door market has undergone some dramatic changes in the past 15 years. I remember when I first joined the industry 14 years ago composite doors were only just beginning to make a name for themselves. It was still mainly PVCu panel and engineered doors in a very small choice of colours. Yes it was a simpler sell to a home owner, but most of us will admit the product choice was dismal.
Fastforward to today, and the entrance door market is a plethora of colour, design and now material options too. Via the services of Google Trends, I want to take a look at how things have changed in the door market in the past fifteen years.
Composite game changer
The absolute obvious change to the door market is of course the introduction of the composite door. Even though options were limited at first, composite doors brought with them a range of new door designs and colours which markedly expanded the current range at the time. Suddenly installers were able to go to home owners with a much more varied range and could turn what was a dull sales process into something which the home owner could get more excited about.
Naturally, there were questions over quality as there always are when new products hit the market. Bowed door slabs, questionnable reinforcing, fading colours etc. The industry is still dealing with the aftermath of that now. But, as the years have gone on, I think generally the overall quality level has risen as the sector has got to grips with vastly rising demand and a more knowledgeable/demanding home owner.
Take a look at how the composite door has exploded over the past 15 years via Google Trends:
That is steady and relentless. The rate of growth shows no sign of slowing down. Now, composite door manufacturers offer dozens of colours, even more door designs, now with different grained or aluminium-effect finishes with a huge suite of hardware options. I would go as far to say that the composite door has been responsible almost single handedly for providing a boost to the entrance door market that wouldn’t have been without it.
Another door option that has risen in popularity has been the bi-folding door. This one has always surprised me a little. Given the climate in the UK, logic would dictate that we shouldn’t be selling the number of bi-folds that we actually are. But, we’re a nation that loves our homes and architecture, and thanks to media programmes that show off the spectacular nature of this product, we have fallen in love with them.
The bi-fold isn’t as simple as an entrance door. There’s more that goes into production and installation, which puts it at a different price point compared to the composite door. Still, as you can see below, the bi-folding door has also enjoyed a steady rise too:
PVC playing the part
Within the whole entrance door market, other materials continue to play their part. We know that aluminium is making a strong and sustained comeback and has been over the past few years. Timber will also continue to play its part. As more composite and aluminium entrance door options are designed to look like timber, there will be an inevitable uplift in interest in timber doors.
PVCu however remains very much in play. Only last week did I see a manufacturer bring out a range of pretty funky looking new PVCu panelled doors. I’m not anticipating a comeback of that particular product, but it still does have a niche within the overall door market.
The picture of the state of PVCu however is a bit mixed, and with Google Trends, it all hinges (sorry) on the search terms you put in. So below are three different charts with three different PVC definitions:
For what its worth, I don’t believe the chart with “PVCu door” gives a true reflection on the state of things. Its too low compared to all the other variants. So I put together a chart showing just the three definitions:
Out of all of those, the uPVC definition is likely to be the most accurate. If so, composite doors still have a way to go to dethrone uPVC as the main entrance door market material.
As we move forward, I think we’re going to see a blurring of the lines between materials, more so than we already have. Right now we have composite doors and some uPVC doors basing their designs on timber doors. We now have composite doors taking on aluminium effects to take on the rise of the aluminium entrance door. I think we’re going to see more timber doors looking like aluminium doors in terms of their modern and ultra-modern designs. As each product develops and evolves further, and more is possible, we will see manufacturers bring out more products designed to win over business from other parts of the entrance door market.
Who knows what the next 15 years will bring?
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