A market survey has found that following a log period of decline, the UK conservatory market has started to show signs of recovering
The report from AMA* showed that the market was estimated to be worth around £620 million at the end of 2014.
Two factors have contributed to the improvement; a combination of a recovery in the economy in general and the housing market in particular. Both helped underpin rising consumer confidence and spending on higher value home improvements, especially with interest rates so low.
The report shows that in recent times the market has become more sophisticated in terms of product range and offers more options for a bespoke project. Options now include conservatories, glazed extensions which might have a solid or a glass roof, orangeries, verandas, loggias etc. Key product features that have become more important in the conservatory market include improved thermal efficiency, high specification self-cleaning glass, coloured frames, bi-fold opening doors etc.
In terms of frame materials, PVC-U continues to dominate, but timber has a reasonable share and has retained its attraction for many homeowners due to its natural appearance and sustainability credentials. Aluminium remains a more expensive option and while it has retained a niche share in the domestic market, aluminium bi-fold doors have gained widespread consumer acceptance.
Key suppliers are a mix of national retail brands, local suppliers and specialist conservatory installers. However, in broad terms, the supply structure for conservatories remains very complex and fragmented, reflecting the structure of the replacement window market. Two leading players, namely Synseal and Ultraframe, both of which expanded in recent years, mainly but not entirely, through acquisition, dominate the conservatory roof systems sector. The report believes that consolidation is likely to remain a feature of the conservatory market, though a trend to more bespoke installations provides opportunities for local companies.
In the next three years, recovery in the market should lead to a modest expansion. The market for conservatories and glazed extensions in the UK is forecast to see relatively buoyant rates of growth in the medium term, and is expected to reach a value of over £760 million in 2018
There is one factor that may deal a blow to the recent improvement. Market growth will only be possible if the UK economy sees sustained growth, alongside improvements in the house moving market, disposable incomes, and consumer confidence.
“In the longer term, our forecasts indicate steady growth, but we do not expect to see a return to the peak volumes achieved in the early-mid 2000s,” explained Andrew Hartley, Director, AMA Research. “However, work on existing conservatories will become a more important part of the conservatory/glazed installation market in the UK in the coming years, as more homeowners either replace or upgrade older models.”
*Domestic Conservatory and Glazed Extensions Market Report – UK 2014-2018 Analysis. For further information, visit the website: www.amaresearch.co.uk
Caption Modest growth is predicted in the conservatory market but not to the levels of the early 2000s.