What you need to know

The residential windows, doors and conservatories market is undergoing very different influences. On the one hand there is the growth stimulus from the growing levels of houses being built, while the replacement market is undergoing much more subdued demand. These market sectors are also very different in terms of suppliers and the needs. New build estates require large volumes of product to be delivered and installed at a time, while the individual requirements of home owners for the replacement market are more varied and for much lower quantities (typically 10 windows in an average house, assuming the order is for a full house project).

The replacement industry has a few, very large national suppliers who have invested strongly in their brands, and they are accompanied by a plethora of local companies who can source the products from alternative national and international suppliers. This has the effect of increasing the competitiveness of the sector. It is a highly competitive market, which has to cope with raw material price increases as well as the rising cost of labour and major changes in sales lead generation.

The issue of market saturation in the replacement market has long been rumoured, but the evidence is that the penetration of double glazing continues to rise, and is now at some 85% of residential properties. However, an element of the market is sustained by the product life cycle, with the emergence of the double glazed replacement industry starting in the 1960s with products that were only designed to last 20 years. Those early products also appear very dated in appearance, often using very wide frames, which are no longer necessary as technology has moved on. The disposal of those early installed products is now providing a source of raw material for recycling, which is increasingly attractive to the industry with raw material price increases and for environmental reasons. That recycled issue now provides a significant marketing opportunity to a market increasingly aware of the issues with plastic waste.

Covered in this Report

This report covers the UK market for double and secondary glazing. Triple glazing is also included although this remains a small sector of the market. Double glazing normally involves the removal and replacement of existing windows and frames, while secondary glazing can usually be fitted to existing frames. Because of the nature of supply it is not possible to eliminate installation charges.

Sales to the building trade and sales to the commercial, industrial public non-residential sectors are excluded.

There are a variety of materials used in the construction of window and door frames. The traditional timber still dominates the new installation market, and the use of steel window frames is largely out of fashion, though is more widely used outside of the residential sector. PVCu is widely used in the retro-fit double glazing sector and aluminium has also retained a significant role in this sector of the market. In the latter case again much of the total market is accounted for by commercial applications, especially retail properties.

This report looks at both the direct sell and the builders/contract sector.

Direct sell sector includes all companies who offer windows and (other products) directly to the public on a sell and install basis, these include door to door, retailers, garden centres, showrooms. These companies have traditionally known as ‘double glazing’ or replacement windows’ companies. The windows and doors are normally for replacement although some first time installation is also carried out. The selling tends to be on a local basis, or as the name suggests door to door or through a local showroom.

The builders/contract sector incorporates all windows and doors installed in private and public housing sector dwellings as part of home improvement schemes other than those installed by direct sell companies, such as the new build market. This sector also incorporates companies that custom build their products for their clients.

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