John Duffin, Director Keylite Roof Windows is BMBI’s Expert for Roof Windows.
The performance of the roof window market in quarter four continued on the downwards trajectory set in the latter months of quarter three. This meant the double-digit growth experienced at the end of June was eroded still further, with 2019 managing only single-figure year-on-year growth.
Compared to repair maintenance and improvement (RMI), house building is a small contributor to the overall roof window market, but it was surprisingly strong for Keylite. This may not reflect the NHBC “start” figures, but it aligns better with many of the national house builders’ reported growth stats for the full year. Traditionally this happens as plots are ‘finished out’ and made watertight before the full onset of winter.
However, the main barometer for roof windows is over-the-counter (OTC) builders’ merchants’ sales to the RMI market. Quarter four saw OTC sales flatten compared to the same quarter in 2018. This resulted in the previously high single-figure growth reported in quarter three dropping away in the final quarter. The dip, driven by weaker consumer confidence in the run up to the December 12th election, looks like it may be reversing. That may reflect the fact that we now have a stable majority government and at least some certainty regarding our direction of travel. As we head out through the EU exit door and start to negotiate our future trade deals ahead of 31st Dec 2020, consumer and business confidence are – in mid-February as this is written – bouncing back.
As I’ve commented in previous reports, Keylite is holding high levels of raw materials and finished goods so we can maintain our readiness to deal with any outcome of the upcoming Brexit negotiations. We will build further on our specification sales in 2020 and, along with an exciting new product launch planned for April, we have every opportunity to fuel our growth ahead of the market.