In a rapidly changing market, it’s going to get tough out there for installers. Martyn Elwell, Sales and Marketing Director of Central Window Systems, shares his advice…
For the past 24 months, the industry has enjoyed a welcome post-lockdown boom, thanks to many homeowners investing money that would have been spent on holidays abroad and other luxuries in renovating their properties instead.
In fact, according to research by Santander, UK homeowners applied for over 60,000 extensions and conversions in the 13 weeks of lockdown, while four in five homeowners renovated their homes in the following months.
Sales for conservatories, extensions, garden rooms, new windows and doors soared, and despite the supply chain issues and price increases that resulted, for the glazing industry, it was a trading period like no other.
Now, two years since Covid-19 first introduced itself, that’s all changing.
With most restrictions now a thing of the past and travel almost fully reopened, it seems the general public is making up for lost time – in the past few weeks alone, hundreds of thousands of Brits embarked on a half-term getaway following the government’s scrapping of coronavirus testing for fully vaccinated travellers.
And with the recent news of a record increase in global gas prices seeing an energy price cap rise of 54%, home improvements have certainly dropped down the list of spending priorities.
The market is certainly looking very different to how it did two years ago, and I do see things becoming much more difficult for the industry in 2022, especially as the surge in demand calms down.
The number of domestic installations has decreased dramatically, something we’ve seen first-hand at Central Window Systems, with domestic projects dropping by 30% in the past few years.
There’s no denying it – things are tough out there for installers, and it’s only going to become more difficult.
My advice to installers would be to try to focus on serving the higher end of the market, as this is a sector I see continuing to flourish.
In general, homeowners who previously had more disposable income as a result of the pandemic no longer have that extra cash to hand now that life has for the most part returned to normal and are therefore no longer spending on improving their properties.
At the same time, however, there will always be higher earning households who still have the money to spend, and generally, it’s this group that would rather invest in premium products.
Being a “single source supplier” of PVCu and aluminium solutions, we are well positioned to offer the products to help.
As part of Central’s growth strategy, we’ve spent the past few months expanding into this high-end domestic market, growing both our product portfolio and customer base with the aim of better serving domestic installers.
First in our range is the aluminium casement window, the ideal window to tap into increased demand for contemporary new-builds and refurbishment projects.
As well as being extremely aesthetically pleasing, it incorporates all the high-quality functions you’d expect from an aluminium flush casement window, including weather resistance, advanced performance, and incredible versatility, functioning as a durable alternative to timber and steel window systems.
We also offer our aluminium Flat Rooflight, a contemporary but practical system designed to meet the needs of the modern building.
Quick to assemble on site and available in a wide range of sizes, this made to measure rooflight comes in three different designs – Fixed, Ventilation, and Egress – and certainly meets the demand for stylish and functional products, helping installers tap into a lucrative and growing market.
Also available is our top-quality range of highly customisable aluminium bi-folds and patio doors, which offer homeowners a way to let in more natural light, and installers the chance to benefit from this premium market.
From a PVCu perspective, our mechanically welded flush casement windows provide our customers with a heritage look that suits many applications. It’s the perfect product that can differentiate installers from the competition and help maximise their margins.
In what’s set to become a difficult and competitive trading period, as well as investing in premium products, it’s also vital that installers wrap themselves in a marketing package to maintain their strong reputation. Of course it’s very tempting to cut costs, but it’s more important now than ever for installers.
That’s why in addition to an extensive product portfolio, we also offer our customers access to the exclusive Central Hub, an online portal where both PVCu and aluminium installers can access showroom materials and marketing support, brochures, images and downloads, as well as the latest company news and order notifications.
All the features of the Central Hub have been designed to benefit installers, from detailed product information to dedicated marketing and showroom support, all of which will help them provide better service to their customers, and ultimately win them more sales, improve conversion rates and increase profit margins.
It’s certainly a changing market out there, but I believe that if the industry can get through what’s been an unprecedented past two years, we can get through anything.
With strategic investments in both the right products and their marketing, domestic installers, I believe, will flourish, with Central Window Systems at hand for support all the way.
If you’re an installer looking for a reliable supplier of high-quality products combined with dedicated support, give us a call today – we’d love to hear from you.
For more information, call Central Window Systems on 0121 500 0505, or visit www.centralwindowsystems.co.uk.