The future is colour

Deceuninck’s managing director Rob McGlennon says colour is still growing fast, but forward-thinking fabricators need the right suppliers to make the most of it.

Trends come and go but colour is storming the market. At a time when white is so competitive it has become a commodity, colour is a growing and profitable part of the market.

Inside and outside the home, homeowners have fallen in love with colour. Around 25% of UK windows sold are in colour, but six of Deceuninck’s top fabricators sell over 50% colour, and both the number of our fabricators who lean to colour and colour as a proportion of our total profile sales is increasing rapidly. I am still expecting some fabricators to go colour-only soon, and kick the white habit completely.

What’s driving the trend? Colour-focused installers are flying because they’re selling colour to ‘the Haves’, a large and growing group of mostly older homeowners with little or no mortgage. The Haves’ properties have increased rapidly in value over the past 20 years, so improvements like new windows and doors quickly pay for themselves. This group of homeowners have the money to enhance the look, comfort and value of their homes, and they want added value products like flush sash windows and colour.

Most fabricators aren’t selling much colour, so they may not realise the demand that’s out there. Other fabricators see the demand and want to sell more of it, but they’re hampered by their supplier.

Most systems companies (syscos) have been surprised by the speed of take-up of colour. Most have struggled to supply the demand with a limited colour offer and long, uncertain lead times.

Other syscos foil to order, or set minimum order or unrealistic pack size requirements, which make it hard for their customers to sell colour, and avoids increasing the cost of their stockholding and operations. But foiling to order (instead of foiling for stock) increases the chance of late deliveries, incomplete orders and errors, and is a huge disincentive to fabricators who cannot then promise real-time deliveries to installers – who then find it hard to sell colour and meet their customers’ expectations.

A limited colour range, and long or unreliable lead times, prevent fabricators doing much in colour. They can’t supply their customers efficiently if they don’t know when their order will arrive, whether it will arrive in full, and only find out when the vehicle arrives. Similarly, minimum pack order requirements may force fabricators to buy two lengths of expensive colour profile when they only need a single length. That extra profile is a big cost and someone has to pay for it. If unused profile hangs around the factory it often gets damaged, or if it isn’t used within a certain timescale the sysco may limit its guarantee. The fabricator may end up selling it cheap for recycling, or they may pass on the cost to their installer customers at higher prices, which is another sales deterrent.

Not long after I joined Deceuninck, we made a strategic decision to supply a wide range of colourways across our range, along with all the matching trims, sills and ancillaries, and to supply them from stock. We believed the future was colour, so we invested in a vast 140,000ft2 warehouse, a state-of-the-art foiling plant, and world-class foiling team to supply 26 colourways from stock across our Heritage Collection. So, when you order colour from Deceuninck, whether it’s a single length of profile or a full stillage, it comes on your next delivery. No surprises, and no to-follows.

We’ve invested in colour because it’s what the market wants, and being able to supply it gives customers the edge. Glen Cain, MD at Mr Window, says sales have jumped 28% thanks to its wide colour range and fast response times.

“Colour is the future,” he said. “People don’t want white anymore. Colours, particularly soft greens, are growing in popularity at an unbelievable pace. We listen to our customers and give them what they want. That, plus Deceuninck’s quick turnaround and guaranteed availability (a service no-one else seems able to match), is what’s setting us apart from the competition.”

By the end of this year, we intend to take 26 colourways from stock to 30 and have an additional 20 colours on a significantly lower turnaround time than all of our competitors.

It’s part of our ongoing investment in a profitable future for Deceuninck fabricators.

Rob McGlennon: 07818 383385.

Deceuninck Ltd
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