Grey set to take top spot

The uplift in consumer demand for colour PVCU windows and doors continues to gather momentum, with shades of grey leading the charge in 2016 and again in 2017. Meg Durrell, product assistant at Rehau, discusses the new grey substrate to be launched this year, as well as looking at the big colour trends for 2018.

Throughout last year we saw a continued increase in sales of grey laminate foils, with anthracite grey now a serious contender to our bestselling rosewood foil, which has been top of the tree for many years before I joined the team in 2012.

Anthracite grey (grained) and smooth anthracite accounted for almost a third of our foil sales for 2017, reflecting the UK’s ongoing love affair with black and grey finishes that mimic the crisp, contemporary look of aluminium windows.

In fact, by the end of 2018, we predict anthracite grey sales will surpass rosewood to become our number one selling foil, cementing grey as the nation’s new favourite colour choice. For installers, this trend offers a fantastic opportunity to upgrade standard PVCU windows to premium alternatives, and add value to any installation both in the domestic and commercial arena.

This is not to say, however, that wood-finish laminates are dead and buried. Far from it. Moving into 2018 we are likely to see further declines in the demand for lighter wood laminates like golden oak but a resilient performance from dark wood colours.

In 2017, rosewood, black/brown, mahogany and walnut accounted for almost 40% of our laminate sales, and although these will see some attrition from grey colours in the next 12 months, they remain popular choices for customers wanting a more traditional timber-look finish.

Muted shades like chartwell green and cream, or bright and bold laminates like steel blue and racing green, are unlikely to take over in popularity but we still expect to see an increase, particularly in the bold colours, due to 2018 being predicted as the year for a large growth in composite door sales.

Because of the rise in popularity of grey and black foils, one trend we are predicting for 2018 is a growth in the market for alternative colour substrates.

Currently, we foil anthracite grey to a white base profile, a market standard, but Rehau would like to offer our customers something out of the norm.

That’s why we are launching a grey substrate later this year, ensuring that customers choosing darker foils have the option to match it more closely to the base profile for a seamless finish. We expect that people choosing grey, or even our new midnight black laminate, will prefer the darker substrate.

We predict that the new grey substrate will be quickly adopted by the market, not only by consumers, but also by specifiers and architects looking for a complete grey finish to the windows they choose as it will be quite different to the options currently available on the market.

And it seems that it’s not just the UK which is showing an uplift in grey foil sales, our colleagues in Germany are also launching the grey substrate this year, as the popularity of darker PVCU windows also takes hold in mainland Europe.

In summary, 2018 looks like another growth year for foil laminate options, and another chance for installers to show customers the depth and breadth of what PVCU windows can offer.