Crystal Direct comment: Q3 2016

Steve Halford, Group Managing Director Crystal Direct is BMBI’s Expert for PVC-U Windows & Doors.

Builders’ merchants’ third quarter sales of PVC-U windows and doors were nearly 10% up on Q2 2016. We expect this fast growth to continue as builders’ merchants gain share of the over £5 billion windows, doors and conservatories market, and they convince builders to buy their windows and doors where it is easiest and most convenient.

Historically, retail spend on PVC-U windows, doors & conservatories has had two peak transactional periods, in March-May, and a second peak in October-December. The four months in between, June to September, have always delivered slightly lower volumes. In recent years this has been changing as PVC-U windows and doors have become all year around purchases, and the peaks to troughs differences less pronounced. However, we’ve yet to see this pattern emerge in the PVC-U builders’ merchant sector.

Builders’ merchants’ sales of PVC-U windows, doors and conservatories are growing as merchants recover ‘lost’ builders’ window and door sales with a stronger product and service offering.

While Q3 sales were around 10% ahead of Q2, the growth in builder enquiry values feeding that sales growth was just over 30% in the same period.

Putting this in context, over the same Q3 period the overall PVC-U windows and doors market hardly grew at all. Consumer confidence, weakened initially by the shock and confusion following the EU referendum result, took its time to recover, so builders’ merchants’ strong growth means that merchants are gaining market share.

Builders buy the bulk of their building supplies from builders’ merchants because they are convenient for location and parking, and they can get all the associated products they need at the same time. Many builders have accounts with their local merchants, and builders’ merchants are well placed to provide the information and advice builders need.

As builders’ merchants re-engage builders with the PVC-U windows and doors range, service and support they need, including online configurators to make purchasing easy, we expect to see this faster growth continue and merchants to gain share at a faster rate.

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Launched in 2015, the award winning monthly Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) report is the only reliable measure of repair, maintenance & improvement (RMI) activity in the UK. Filling an important gap, it can be widely used in construction, and by economists, Government, national media, commentators and influencers outside the industry.