Diversification is key to health

In Insight Data’s 2019 review of the PVCU fabrication industry, 190 of the top fabricators across the UK were telephoned and asked questions about their business and the wider industry. Jade Greenhow, Insight Data’s operations director, looks back at the results and explains how the events of the last ten months could suggest that diversification may have become a popular solution for many companies.

Despite what we now know about the way 2020 has turned out, in 2019 many felt that the fenestration industry was in the throes of a difficult process of evolution.

One of the key topics of interest was how the diversification of materials or products was helping fabricators to be more successful.

Although a decline in UK fabricators has been happening since 2008, the 2019 report showed that the remainder of the industry remained strong.

As of the end of 2019, 23% of PVCU fabricators had adopted aluminium into their portfolios; aluminium continued its surge into the domestic market with high-end products such as bifold doors and sliding doors.

PVCU high-end products were also popular. Vertical sliders and flush casements were (and continue to be) in-vogue, alongside recent developments in more colours and foils than ever before. This demonstrates the adaptability of the fenestration sector.

Duel sourcing was on the increase, with 23% of businesses polled fabricating both PVC and aluminium. However, PVC was still king with 73%.

Our key takeaway 10 months later is that diversification is an increasing feature of the fabrication industry. With PVCU products accounting for such a high proportion of industry output, we wouldn’t be surprised if we start to see evidence of an increase in duel sourcing throughout 2020. During the first national lockdown, the RMI (repair, maintenance and improvement) market for domestic housing spiked as consumers invested in their own homes. This will have created more demand for in-vogue products, so expect to see more companies diversifying into this market in the future.