Industry ‘confident of continuing growth’

emplasA new poll suggests that the glass and glazing industry has ‘lost faith’ in the Green Deal but remains confident of continuing growth throughout 2014, driven by demand for energy efficient home improvements and product innovation.

Published this month [Jan 2014], the second ‘Emplas State of the Market Report’, found that overall, installers were upbeat about their prospects in the coming year, with 98% of those surveyed predicting growth, compared to just 67% in 2013.

But while respondents were broadly positive about their future prospects, they were far less optimistic about the Green Deal.

With an aim of improving the energy efficiency of more than 14 million homes by 2020, the scheme was launched by the government this time last year. However, far lower than expected take-up means that fewer than 1,000 households were predicted to have signed-up to energy efficiency improvements in its first 12 months.

According to the Emplas report, this has led to ‘growing scepticism’ among installers, with 98% of those surveyed stating that they did not expect to win any business through the Green Deal in 2014.

This represented a hardening of position on 2013, when a third of respondents said that they hoped to win business through the programme. None of those polled as part of this year’ study had won business through the Green Deal in the preceding 12 months.

Kevin Johnson, managing director at Emplas, said: “The findings are consistent with those last year. Very few installers were optimistic about their prospects under the Green Deal then and the hugely disappointing take-up of the scheme to date suggests that they had no reason to be.

,“But we should be careful not to throw the ‘baby out with the bath water’. The Green Deal has so far put in a lacklustre performance but its fundamental premise – that we need to improve the energy efficiency of UK housing stock – remains sound.
,“With the ‘big six’ energy companies increasing energy prices by up to 8% – three times the rate of inflation – in the run-up to Christmas and the effects now starting to bite, the energy efficiency message continues to have mileage.”

This was also identified as an area of opportunity for those responding to the study with energy efficiency ranked as the single most important factor in driving retail sales. This was followed by security, quality and cost.

Johnson continued: “The recession has been a sobering experience for consumers. Even during the downturn, research shows that consumers were not drawn to the lowest prices by default. Instead, there was increased focus on quality on the basis that ‘if you buy cheap, you buy twice’.”

Product innovation was cited by all respondents as providing the ‘backbone’ of growth this coming year, with composite doors and colour products tipped by 86% and 80% of respondents respectively, as a basis for growth in 2014. This represented a slight fall for the former on last year, when composites were cited by 93% of those surveyed as foundation for growth.

Analysis of the prospects for triple glazing were also somewhat more conservative, listed as a source of growth in 2014 by just 17% of those polled, compared to just short of half, in 2013.

But perhaps the biggest shift was the growing mood of optimism that surrounded the
conservatory market. Last year a source of melancholy and lamentation (cited by just 17% of respondents as a source of growth), this year 73% of those polled said that they expected to see the sector expand.

“This is great for a sector of our industry which took more than its fair share of hits during the recession. Produ

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