In 2015, the UK market for bi-fold doors was estimated to have grown by 12%, according to a new report by AMA Research, with similar growth expected for 2016.
Rising from a low installed base, bi-fold demand has increased sharply in recent years according to the AMA report, driven strongly by significant growth in the home improvement market – both new extensions and replacement – and changing tastes in favour of opening up the home and garden area.
The bi-fold doors market is a relatively new and expanding sector, worth more than £70m at manufacturers prices – and much higher in terms of installed value.
As indicated above, a key driver of market growth has been consumer interest in bi-folds – with the residential market accounting for over 50% of sales – while suppliers themselves have contributed to the growth of the market through new developments in frame materials, styles, colours and features. In terms of product mix, exterior bi-folds dominate the sector by both volume and value due to residential use – although commercial interior bi-fold doors account for a significant share of the market.
AMA’s report assesses the market by frame material and, while aluminium is the dominant frame material, timber accounts for around 20% of the market. Overall, the trend for maximising natural light has resulted in increased glazing used for entrance and patio doors and internal doors. Home extensions are a key market – with around 200,000 extensions per annum offering good market prospects for manufacturers and installers alike with bi-folds popular where homeowners are extending kitchens/living areas and want a more open link to the outdoors.
In the commercial office sector, bi-folds were found to have increased in use as interior doors which offer natural light but offer flexibility by enabling rooms to be expanded or contracted easily. They were also found to be popular for car showrooms and similar businesses allowing easier movement of vehicles and products. Bi-folds have also been in use for many years in the leisure sector as exterior doors for restaurants and bistros, and internal space dividers in the health and fitness sector. Within the leisure sector, replacements feature importantly as older style bi-folds are changed for newer styles and frame materials and more easily operating features.
Andrew Hartley, director of AMA Research, said: “The supply structure remains complex and fragmented but increasingly competitive, as many window and door companies now offer bi-fold doors.
“A number of companies that originally focused on single materials, eg, aluminium, PVC-U or timber, have extended product ranges to include alternative material products in order to widen channel exposure. Bi-fold doors have also seen wider distribution generally in recent years, particularly through retail DIY/home improvement multiples and online.”
Current AMA forecasts indicate steady to good growth into the medium-term with the bi-fold doors market growing by around 7% per annum to 2020. Factors likely to have a positive impact on volume and value growth include housebuilding completions, the house moving market, trend for higher value replacements and steady levels of home improvement projects. Bi-fold doors are likely to remain a key product sector for retail window and door companies with second/third time replacements likely to impact on the market in future years.
The impact of Brexit on the residential newbuild and RMI sectors remains extremely difficult to forecast and implications are likely to become clearer as the UK eventually begins the process of negotiation. However, as a minimum, the uncertainty created by the situation may cause the market to become more volatile and may lead to reduced levels of spending on home improvements – though the appeal of bi-fold doors looks looks set to underpin demand going forward.
The ‘Bi-fold Doors Market Report – UK 2016-2020 Analysis’ report is published by AMA Research, a provider of market research and consultancy services within the construction and home improvement markets. The report is available now and can be ordered online at www.amaresearch.co.uk or by calling 01242 235724.