Industry redefined by homeownership

Tougher second-time replacement sells and the shift away from home ownership, are driving long-term change in the window and door industry, according to Robert Palmer of Palmer Market Research who was speaking at the recent FIT Show.

He said first time window and door replacements had dropped from 80% in 2000 to less than 30% in 2015, with ‘replacement of replacement’ installations now accounting for 70% of all installations.

He argued that this was driving increased focus on aesthetics.

“Homeowners want something that is tangibly different and the appearance of windows is increasingly important in the market,” he said.

“That in turn is driving innovation in the industry and the shift to premium finishes and foils in retail markets.

“While there will always be a place for standard budget white PVCU, there has been definite shift in consumer expectation. The industry has responded with foils and premium finishes as well as the very substantial growth that we’re seeing in demand for aluminium.”

Robert said aluminium is on course to reach a 17-year high by 2020, topping 220,000 frames by the end of the three-year period.  

This, he said, would be delivered by significant growth in the bifold market, which he forecast was set for growth of 30% through to 2020 in all material types to 55,000 door sets. Of these, he predicted that aluminium would take the lion’s share of the market at 35,000 units.

Robert cited ‘exponential growth’ in the solid roof conservatory market as a second key area of opportunity. According to ‘The Window, Door and Conservatory Markets in Housing in Great Britain (October 2016)’ the market for replacement conservatory roofs was up 62% in 2015 to 11,200 installations, and is forecast for continuing growth through to 2020.  

He also forecast continuing if steady growth in the composite door market, which he said would increase to around 850,000 door sets per annum in the next three years.

However, he tempered forecasts with predictions of continuing challenge. Alongside the shift to tougher second-time replacement sells, Robert said that the long-term decline in homeownership was also driving a long-term change in the market. This has dropped from a peak of 14.8 million in 2005 to below 14.3 million last year.

Conversely the private rental sector was up from around two million properties in 2005 to 4.5 million.

“The private rental market tends to be, again, that little bit tougher and price driven. There are, however, incentives. Or, perhaps more accurately, disincentives for not doing so – to improve the energy efficiency of their properties.

“MEES (minimum energy efficiency standards) give landlords just a year to bring the energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of their properties to no lower than E for new tenants and to all existing tenancies from 01 April 2020,” Robert said.

“Brexit is clearly also an influence. What that influence will be right now is very difficult to predict as we know so very little about its potential shape.”