You won’t have failed to notice that stock markets around the world have been tanking ever since the financial world realised that the coronavirus pandemic would cause serious economic consequences.

A number of our biggest companies are traded on markets both here and in Europe, and not a single one has been unable to escape the sell-off:

Saint Gobain:

Credit: Bloomberg


Credit: Bloomberg


Credit: Bloomberg

Epwin Group:

Credit: Bloomberg


Credit: Bloomberg

Its important to state here that not a single one of the companies shown above have done anything wrong over the past 8-10 days. They have merely been caught up in a selling frenzy on stock markets as traders try to figure out what they can actually do about it. The short answer is not a lot.

A lack of certainty is the worst thing for business and markets. We have seen the effects of that domestically over the past three years as we have laboured to get Brexit phase one over the line. This however is orders of magnitude larger, will affect everyone and every business around the world. Its a hell of a leveller.

But whilst we all begin to get to grips with the gravity of the situation, I sense perhaps a silver lining in all of this, specific to fenestration.

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Holiday money spent at home

Two customers of mine this week have told me that due to coronavirus, they have decided not to spend money they had earmarked for holidays, instead deciding to spend it on their homes. As I went to sign up a customer, they asked me to measure for two more doors as they were signing up for the one I originally quoted.

This is perhaps where our industry might be able to wrangle a boost out of all of this. As people either cancel or postpone booking holidays, it frees up that cash to be spent on other things. A few thousand pounds allocated for a nice holiday somewhere could buy a couple of doors or half a dozen windows. It could pay for a new conservatory roof or some roofline.

Right now, at our place, we have seen absolutely zero drop-off in terms of leads and sales. In fact they have gone up over the past couple of weeks. So much so we’re creaking. A nice problem to have, but it brings its own challenges. We have also put in measures such as stopping handshakes and asking customers about their recent travel, to try and mitigate some of the risks. Absolutely every person we have spoken to has been good about it and have had no problems in placing orders with us.

We are wondering whether more and more people are choosing to ditch their holidays and spend their money on their homes instead. Remember, virus or not, there are still plenty of old windows and doors out there that need replacing.

Whether or not factories can remain open to make windows and doors is another matter!

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