The scale and scope of the conservatory roof market over the past ten years have shrunk significantly. Product choice has increased to some degree, with solid roofs becoming a staple within the roof market as a whole, but the number of conservatory roof system manufacturers is nothing like it used to be.
Competition to drive innovation
During the course of the conservatory boom a couple of decades ago there was a sleuth of conservatory roof system manufacturers. Demand was high and it was pretty easy to make good money during that period.
Then that period ended, and demand rather dropped off a cliff somewhat. We even had one of our sector’s manufacturers reach the FTSE100. Those days are long gone, and so are the days of choice and variety. As the size of the conservatory roof market began to shrink, so did the amount of choice that was available in the marketplace.
Now, one company owns a large singular portion of the market via acquisition, the rest of the market is then divided up by a handful of suppliers. Whilst that is an advantageous position for the company that owns the majority, it leaves little left for the others to compete for.
That position however is beginning to change. Over the last few years, the product portfolio within the roof market has changed. The nature of conservatories have changed and so with it so has the product. Gone are the days of mass polycarbonate sales. Now, glass and solid roofs are the order of the day. And we have seen new companies spring up out of this new trend to help facilitate the growth of this market. The names of Supa Lite and Guardian being the most obvious, but new players on the market such as Leka, who boasts a 0.12 u-value on their solid roof, have been making waves recently and look set to continue doing so.
The solid roof sector has been one of the biggest innovations in the roof market in the past 15 years and shows no signs of stopping. With millions of old polycarbonate roofs out there making for extremely cold or terribly hot rooms, there appears to be massive potential still.
Every market needs competition. That’s what drives change and innovation. That’s what keeps progress moving forwards. So whilst there is a large portion of the market all tied up in one place, the smaller more nimble companies are the ones that can cause the greatest change and influence.
Lanterns and roof lights
One of the other major innovations in the past decade has been the glass lantern and flat glass roof light. They have provided installers a route to millions of flat roofs across the country and a simple and modern way to bring light into darkened rooms. The potential in this particular part of the market is massive.
Again, one company has a huge footprint in this, but this niche is not without its disruptors. Take VitrineAlu for example. A brand new aluminium fabricator that is producing lanterns and flat glass roof lights from the Sheerline system from Garnalex. Although new on the scene, they are getting noticed and gaining traction.
There is also Made For Trade with their popular Korniche lantern roof product. Made For Trade has made good progress in what is a market that continues to harbour newcomers into the industry.
And this is a good thing. The more new companies that emerge in this particular market, and disrupt the status quo, the more competition there is, the better it is for the industry. It gives installers and fabricators more choice, allowing them to pick products better suited to their needs. Product quality generally rises as companies compete against each other, which is great for the end-user.
No one company should have a monopoly on anything. This industry is big enough for everyone to have a share of the success. I hope that in the years to come we see more new players enter what is still a market full of opportunities and bring more choice and options to installers and of course homeowners.
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