New year blues?

By Neil Cooper-Smith, senior analyst at Business Pilot.

The latest Business Pilot Barometer shows that window and door sales fell by 27% in December, following a drop by the same figure in November on October.

This represents a total decline in volume of 46% over the final three months of year.

The number of leads received by installers in December also dropped, this time by 29% on November. Figures for the final three months of 2020 show a 41% fall.

This would in a normal world send alarm bells ringing. However, with the industry still trying to clear the backlog of orders, seasonal adjustments and the fact that many installers shut shop for Christmas early, we don’t see any reason to panic. At least not yet.

At a macro level, forecasts for the UK’s economic recovery remain positive. House prices closed the year 7.5% up. Housing demand according to Nationwide buoyed by a raft of policy measures and changing preferences during the pandemic. This included a 0.8% increase in December on November.

The stamp duty holiday, continuing availability of finance, and the demand for bigger semi-detached or detached properties, is driving continued competition at the start of 2021.

And even if the housing market cools, as it is predicted to from the late spring and early summer, analysts suggest that consumer spending won’t. During 2020 households saved an estimated £1 in every £5. Before the pandemic it was £1 in every £12.

This, according to the Centre for Economic and Business Research, suggests that UK households saved an average of £7,100 last year. That’s a tidy down payment towards new windows and doors, or even a glazed extension.

The caveat here is that it’s higher income households – those with an income of £50,000 plus a year – who saw their disposable income increase by the greatest amount.

This suggests that your marketing and sales strategy needs to be carefully targeted in order to maximise return on investment.

As a CRM and business management tool, Business Pilot can help you to do this by tracking your lead generation and helping you to understand which channels deliver the best results and which demographics you should be targeting.

Business Pilot will also allow you to assign leads and track their conversion, through to job scheduling, cost of installation, service calls, and financial reporting, making sure that your lead generation delivers results and that you fully capitalise on them.