John Duffin, Director Keylite Roof Windows is BMBI’s Expert for Roof Windows.
What a mixed bag 2019 has been, and quarter three was no different.
July sales were well ahead of the previous year, but a weaker August and September left roof window sales much the same at the end of Q3 as they were at the end of Q2 – in high single figures up on 2018.
In quarter two, regional abnormalities saw growth in the Irish market offsetting the UK. Quarter three has now seen these variations ironed out and growth is more consistent across all regions.
New build has been steady throughout the quarter and indications from our national and regional housebuilding customers are that this will continue until the end of the year. Forecasts for 2020 volumes range from flat to +5%. However, RMI (the housing repair, maintenance and improvement sector) which accounts for the bulk of sales will deliver any growth that’s forecast.
As we enter the real pantomime season, in contrast to the unending parliamentary panto we seem to have been in for the past three years, it will take a positive majority outcome from the December 12th election to restore consumer confidence. In the face of continued Brexit uncertainty, GfK’s Consumer Confidence Index fell 3 points to -14 this October. However, not to overstate the gloom, for major purchases such as room-in-the-roof projects where roof windows are required, the GfK’s Major Purchase Index has slipped 3 points from October 2018, but it’s still positive at +1, which indicates growth.
Consumers need a boost in confidence to fuel the growth in over-the-counter sales within builders’ merchants if the roof window industry is to see another double-digit growth year.
Regardless of what happens at government level, Keylite will maintain its readiness to deal with any outcome, and we continue to hold high levels of raw materials and finished goods stock. This ensures that we are perfectly positioned to weather even the most uncertain of storms. Quarter four has got off to a steady start, the like of which high street businesses might be envious. Let’s just hope they are all still here when it comes to loading up Santa’s sleigh!