“It’s a harder market but there’s still demand”

Steve Winslet, group managing director of Victorian Sliders

There’s no doubt that, for the construction sector, 2023 is proving harder than 2022 – if not any year since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

Anecdotally, many in the glass and glazing sector are saying the market is around 15% to 20% down on where it was this time last year.

For a more rigorous assessment, we can look to the Construction Products Association (CPA). They’re predicting a 6.4% drop in overall construction output in 2023 and a 17% fall in private housing.

By the CPA’s account, last autumn’s disastrous mini-budget, interest rates reaching a 14-year high, rising mortgage rates, falling real incomes and a cost of living crisis have combined to produce a sharp drop in demand. However, it’s not all doom and gloom.

While the decline is steep, it’s predicted to be less severe than 2008, 2012 and 2020. Also, before the current market instability, construction output was at the highest level in history.

For many businesses, the huge demand produced by the first phase of the pandemic bordered on unmanageable. It’s possible that a moderate downturn may actually provide time and space to recover from that disruption, and be more streamlined and efficient moving forward.

What’s more, the CPA is predicting that the decline in repair, maintenance and improvement (RMI) will be less severe – offset, researchers suggest, by strong demand for products that can improve energy efficiency.

In other words, while a shrinking market is hardly good news for UK glass and glazing, there’s likely to be continuing demand for products that can offer high energy efficiency, giving us a route to continuing success.

We also know from experiences of previous recessions that while some sections of the population see incomes squeezed, the higher end of the market is much less affected.

At Victorian Sliders, we feel we’re excellently placed to support our customers through a more challenging 2023. EcoSlide is extremely versatile – its stylish sash window aesthetics are highly sought after at the higher end of the market where consumers still have money to spend.

It’s increasingly winning attention in the new-build sector, meaning EcoSlide customers have two potential avenues for selling them, and aren’t solely reliant on residential RMI. And it’s also highly thermally efficient, meaning that customers are able to capitalise on growing demand for energy efficiency.

With EcoSlide, installers around the country will continue to make valuable sales, then go on to thrive when market growth returns.

Steve Winslet
Group managing director, Victorian Sliders harder harder