Modest growth in competitive market

In 2016 the market for domestic replacement windows and doors was estimated to have grown by 3% in value terms, according to AMA Research.

Following good growth in 2014, the market reverted to lower growth rates in 2015-16, reflecting the mature state of the market and the high rates of household penetration of double glazing, the organisation said in its latest report (‘Domestic Replacement Door and Window Market Report – UK 2016-2020 Analysis’).

“Future growth in this market remains dependent on a positive housing market, but our forecasts for 2017 and beyond remain muted, with the uncertain economic situation a central factor,” it said.

PVCU is the dominant material in the replacement windows market, with the direct sell route particularly strong. However, PVCU continues to face challenges in the entrance doors and patio doors sectors where composites and aluminium, particularly for bifold doors, continue to take share.

The ‘re-replacements’ market for windows has been the key driver, while security, acoustic and thermal insulation properties, and sustainability remain core themes.

In recent years companies have increasingly offered quality products with a wider choice of options, with colour being singled out as a striking example.

In the entrance door sector the share of composites has grown, accounting for one-third of the market in 2016.

“This has been mainly at the expense of PVCU with timber still retaining largest share in terms of materials mix,” the report said. “Growth for replacement entrance doors has been higher than for replacement windows with key drivers including security issues, wear and tear from climate/regular use, as well as the fact that replacing the front or back door represents a significantly smaller investment than would be needed for replacement windows.”

While bifolds are seen as modern replacements for patio doors, the whole sector has benefitted from the home extension market and the trend for increased daylighting.  

The report also said that due to its maturity, the domestic replacement doors and windows market is characterised by a highly fragmented supply structure and fierce competition.

“This is particularly true of the PVCU fabricator/installer sector where margins are low,” it said. “In broad terms, aluminium fabrication/installation companies appear to be doing well, though this is only in part due to the replacement market, as aluminium is used to a significant extent in commercial and new build flats, for example.

“However, aluminium fabrication/installation business offer higher margins than PVCU. Major restructuring has been seen in the replacement window and door sector in the last few years, with further rationalisation anticipated at all levels of the supply chain.”

Jane Tarver of AMA Research said the future direction of this market remains unclear following Brexit.

“However, our forecasts anticipate modest growth of around 2% per annum, which is likely to be driven by a basic underlying demand for second and third time replacements,” she said.

A return to the volumes seen in the 1990s remains unlikely due to the high penetration level of double glazing and improved replacement products with longer life cycles. However, new legislation may encourage replacement of windows and doors to some extent, as increasingly stringent regulations for thermal efficiency and security continue to be introduced.

Another key driver for second and third time replacement is likely to be aesthetics as householders opt for different colour and glazing options for windows and entrance doors in order to maintain an up to date look. In addition, emerging niche sectors are also likely to continue to offer opportunities – bifold doors has been a recent example as homeowners look to open-up access to their garden areas with large, flexible glazed areas.

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