The Crystal Group Comment: Q4 2019

Kevin Morgan, Group Commercial Director The Crystal Group is BMBI’s Expert for PVC-U Windows & Doors.

In the PVC-U doors and windows market, 2019 was a year of two halves: the first very buoyant and the second very challenging. General building sector spending sagged in the last six months, as consumer and business confidence ebbed at the chaos in Westminster and negativity of the media. In the fourth quarter, in particular, the market was very competitive as suppliers chased volume, and prices and margins came under pressure.

Looking forward to 2020, we anticipate a continuing improvement in consumer and business confidence now that the Brexit decision has finally been taken. A very healthy level of quotations in January and the start of February, across all routes to market, indicates strong pent-up demand. We expect these to convert into orders over the coming weeks and months.

Right at the end of the year, the DoorsandWindows-Compare.com price comparison website was launched. This new consumer-focussed online initiative aims for transparency, helping homeowners to invest with confidence in new doors and windows. The site includes an online calculator for a number of typical house sizes and project types, a showroom locator and signposts to find a local supplier.

The model follows that of a similar successful website for kitchens – Kitchen-Compare.com which has 1500 visitors a day. Set up and run by Steve Collinge from Insight DIY, DoorsandWindows-Compare.com compares a number of leading industry names, including Crystal.

Visitors can get impartial help and advice on buying windows and doors, and if they click on Crystal, they can find merchants supplying Crystal ‘near me’. We would encourage more merchants to get involved with Crystal allowing the initiative to generate extra business for them. Increasingly, consumers search online, but many consumers still don’t realise that local builders’ merchants sell PVC-U doors and windows.

For over five years, Crystal has been assisting merchants with PVC-U training, showrooms and online pricing to help merchants sell windows and doors to their own installer and builder customer base – opening up a completely new and incremental PVC-U route to market.

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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.

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