Christopher Burrows, Avocet Hardware’s head of UK sales (window & door hardware division) talks economics, product design and hinges with My Trade TV.
“According to recent reports, the UK’s economy will grow faster than any of the other G7 Nations over the remainder of the year and will soon be back to its pre-recession size.
Obviously a great number of factors have played significant roles in this economic revival; amongst them the changing fortune of the housing market. Buoyed by the Government’s Help to Buy scheme, which has put the first step back onto the property ladder back within reach of millions of Britons, property prices are growing and, most importantly from the point of view of everyone operating in our market sectors, the number of new homes being built is growing significantly.
What this means to the likes of Avocet is that things have turned full circle and it is once again the features and benefits of a product that make it stand out from the crowd as opposed to solely the price.
This features and benefits led approach was clearly in evidence when we first launched our Affinity Easy Fit 3D hinge back in early 2010.
At the time we focused strongly on its innovative design, which made it quicker, easier and simpler to fabricate and install. Much was made of the fact it only had four parts and that its butt design made it perfect for fitting and adjusting in a reveal.
In fact, the list of benefits went on and on – a patented independent compression adjustment to ensure against lateral movement when adjusting compression; the fact it was non-handed, which meant it was symmetrical no matter how it was positioned or adjusted; its PAS024 compliance; and let’s not forget it looked great, matched our suite of Affinity door handles and was available in a range of different colours and finishes.
But then when the recession hit, and then hit again, all of this went out of the window (or should that be door?). Housebuilding stagnated, sales slowed dramatically and buying decisions became price driven, which really had an adverse impact on top end products such as our Affinity Easy Fit 3D hinge.
This, remember, was a product that had been designed to stand out from the crowd. It was the cream of the crop and the industry loved it. Over 22,000 units were snapped up in its first month on the market and the feedback was astonishing – especially in terms of speed of installation; with Garrard Windows saying it saved them an astonishing two minutes on every single door they fabricated.
Fast forward to today; with the economy growing and the market picking up it’s important to remember that products such as these were designed not to be the cheapest, but the best – a message that is already sinking in judging by the significant increase in sales of the Affinity hinge we’ve seen since the start of 2014.
But for those still sticking with the recessionary tactic of buying the cheapest product, it is worth noting that while ours may cost more per unit, when judged against time of installation, reliability, performance and style it really is the only sensible choice.”
For more information on the Affinity Easy Fit 3D hinge and other Avocet products call 01484 711700 or visit www.avocet-hardware.co.uk