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WorkSmart – Which material will deliver the greatest opportunity to installers in 2021, PVC-U, aluminium or timber?

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The FIT Show brings each and every product material type under a single roof but the million-dollar question, what’s going to perform best this year and what allows you to make most money – PVC-U, aluminium or timber?

If we’re going to attempt to answer it, we need to understand past performance and the figures for 2020 are fascinating.

Tracked over the year they show what we would expect – a collapse of the market for windows and doors in March, heading into April and then recovery, April heading into the summer and although at a slower rate, through to the end of the year. But it’s the differences between different material types that we’re interested in because PVC-U, aluminium and timber didn’t follow the same trajectories.

The most notable observation is that the PVC-U market collapsed most dramatically in March and April but its’ recovery was also greatest, rapidly recovering the ground it had lost, with lead and sales and conversions pushing far beyond where they had been pre-COVID.

While average sales of both timber and aluminium also dipped in March through to April, they did so to a far lesser degree. The flip side of that coin is that they didn’t see the same explosion in sales that drove such exponential growth in PVC-U, with timber notably remaining flat throughout the year.

What is also notable is that while there was a tsunami of demand for PVC-U in May and June it was concentrated, with demand although far beyond its pre-COVID levels, easing slightly by July.

Aluminium cut a purposeful if less dramatic trajectory, sales steadily climbing throughout the summer and into the autumn when they slowed. There was, however, a disconnect between aspiration and demand, with lower rates of conversion and sales out of kilter with leads.

What can we take away? Well, we can say that buyers of aluminium, at least the serious ones, are less effected by economic uncertainty than those buying PVC-U. Also, that there is an aspirational demand for aluminium, although this converts at a lower rate.

Broader, the market for PVC-U is more closely linked to consumer confidence, conversely conversion rates are higher. Smaller, markets for timber are more consistent and less impacted by consumer confidence, albeit not immune to it.

With next few months still likely to be volatile, this makes a product mix sensible. The FIT Show allows you to pick out the very best of each.

Your profitability against those jobs is another matter, something you can only understand and measure if you’re tracking the whole-job cycle from cost of lead to completion, warranty and service calls.

Business Pilot exists to give you that whole business view, also allowing you to plan and schedule jobs more effectively with easy to use drag and drop functionality, accessible from your phone, your laptop or wherever you happen to be!

Register here to visit Business Pilot on stand L6, FIT Show, the NEC, Birmingham 26th-28th September

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