Integral for the second time replacement market?

Colour, seamless welds, flush casements – they’ve all contributed to the growth of the second time replacement market. HiTech Blinds’ Ian Woolley asks: are integral blinds a fourth driver?

Integral blinds promise higher margin opportunities and crucial product differentiation in the second time replacement market. They offer a ‘newness’, providing the foundation for an added-value sell, which can support installers in winning business, while commanding a higher price.

They provide tangible benefits and can be sold in exactly the same way. Colour delivers new design flexibility over standard white PVCU, product designed for the heritage market looks better. It’s much easier to engage homeowners on aesthetics in the first instance and talk performance second.

More than 92% of all homes in the UK have already had their windows and doors replaced once, while others are onto second or even third time replacements. This makes focusing on things that offer a noticeable difference even more important.

The dialogue needs to change. We need to be talking to homeowners about their aspirations, about lifestyle, how they want to use spaces and then evidence product fit.

Consumers buying aluminium bifold or inline sliding and lift-and-slide doors are also buying into what they represent. It’s a statement about their aspirations for their home.

Integral blinds offer uninterrupted sightlines in the day, and a sense of security and privacy at night. They are a feature of good design. The consumer doesn’t have to compromise, and if you’re spending £thousands on a new aluminium door why would you want to.

This creates a platform for selling on the basis of home design and renovation. UK consumer spending remains high, with years of low interest rates encouraging consumers to spend rather than save.

According to the Office for National Statistics, older people (aged 50-74) spent almost a quarter of their housing-related costs on home improvements.

Meanwhile, a recent poll of homeowners by a high street bank found 44% of homeowners have either completed, or plan to complete, some sort of significant home improvements, with a third saying they did so to add value to their property.

Integrated blinds from HiTech Blinds:

  • Symmetrical design with slim 30mm sightline, when glazed.
  • Available in a choice of nine standard colours.
  • 16mm and 20mm options for supply in slim and standard IGU units.
  • The latest calibrated high performance neodynium magnets and guide rails. Blinds lower raise and tilt using two simple operators.
  • Minimal resistance in operation, reducing strain on gearing guaranteeing through-life performance.
  • High performance hermetically sealed, argon filled IGUs, manufactured in the UK.
  • Tested to 10,000 repetitions.
  • 10-year guarantee.
  • Automated options.

Case study:

Integral blinds from HiTech Blinds were supplied by Millennium Windows and Conservatories into a renovation of a detached home.

The 1970s-built property in St Peter’s, Jersey, underwent a wholesale renovation last year, with Millennium Windows and Conservatories appointed to supply new windows and doors.

Including the supply of three bifolding doors and feature windows, this included the specification of integral blinds by HiTech Blinds. These were supplied by in anthracite grey to colour match Smart Visofold bifolds and Alitherm aluminium windows.

The project included the adaptation of the bifolding doors at the front of the property from the original four sash design to three so that doors could be folded at the customer’s request at a single end of the opening.

This meant the specification of integral blinds within sash units of 1,200mm wide, the focus on clean minimalist sightlines driving the end-user purchasing decision.

HiTech Blinds’ Ian Woolley said that projects, including Millennium Windows and Conservatories’ in Jersey, are indicative of the design trends that are defining the second time replacement market; namely a willingness among homeowners to pay for quality improvements that they recognise as adding value, together with greater focus on a design aesthetic.

“The evidence suggests that people are prepared to spend where they see a value in doing so,” he said. “The focus homeowners now have on design and aesthetics, and the increasingly architectural products that they are specifying, is creating a market for other value-added products.

“Integral blinds fit into this category. They deliver an immediately apparent value add, preserving sightlines and aesthetics while providing a practical solution to requirements for shading and privacy.”