Consumer confidence rises

As the UK recovers from its winter recession, and with a general election on the horizon, could we see an upturn in demand in the second half of 2024?

It would certainly come as a welcome boost for the industry, which has been grinding on through a period where the overall market is reported to have been down by anywhere between 10-16%.

According to last month’s Business Pilot Barometer for example, average sales were indeed 10.1% down in April, compared to the previous month.

Although, on a more positive note, they were still up by some considerable margin (23.7%) year on year. It’s also worth noting that, according to official figures, the economy grew at its fastest rate for two years between January and March.

Reflecting on that positivity, Emplas’ MD, Ryan Johnson, recently highlighted the strength of the housing market and that the construction sector – and residential housebuilding – had also returned to growth.

The general election result will of course have a big part to play in the proceedings, but in the run up to the vote, the Conservatories will no doubt be seizing on any opportunity to underline an uplift in consumer confidence.

That will include the most recent GfK consumer confidence index which rose two points in May, the highest reading since October 2021.

The GfK survey is closely watched by economists to gauge household spending and whether larger asset purchases will rise or fall in future months. According to the GfK, ‘consumers are clearly sensing that conditions are improving’ and it is anticipating ‘further growth in confidence in the months to come.’

In addition, the Bank of England has also signalled that it might consider cutting interest rates as early as June or August.

Whether this translates to a more prosperous period for fabricators and installers will remain to be seen…but ultimately, the industry relies heavily on homeowner confidence and if that carries on improving, then it’s surely a good sign for all.