Clearview South January 2014 - Issue 146 - Page 31

2014PREDICTIONS GREEN DEAL LOSES CREDIBILITY BUT ENERGY EFFICIENCY IS THE FOUNDATION OF GROWTH A new poll suggests that 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, the second ‘Emplas State of the Market Report’, found that overall, installers were upbeat about their prospects in the coming year, with 98 per cent of those surveyed predicting growth compared to just 67 per cent 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 but 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. ‘Research shows that consumers were not drawn to the lowest prices by default’ This has led to growing scepticism among installers, with 98 per cent 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, 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 lack luster performance but its fundamental premise - To read more, visit that we need to improve the energy efficiency of UK housing stock - remains sound.” This was 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 only then 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 per cent and 80 per cent of respondents respectively, as a basis for growth in 2014. Analysis of the prospects for triple-glazing were also somewhat more conservative, listed as a source of growth in 2014 by just 17 per cent 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 per cent of respondents as a source of growth), this year 73 per cent of those polled said that they expected to see the sector expand. “Product innovation, the growing number of hybrid products on the market, innovation in glass technologies and an expanding second-time replacement market mean that the conservatory market is at last turning a corner”, said Johnson. Emplas sustained an enviable level of investment throughout the downturn. This included the launch of the ‘Livinroom’ conservatory/orangery cross-over from Ultraframe. The trade fabricator has also made similar investment in its other offers including the launch of a new GRP door range which sits alongside chamfered and fully sculptured casement windows, vertical sliders, bi-fold and inline sliding doors, all available in a wide variety of colours and finishes. Emplas has also mobilised the latest digital technologies to support its customers including the launch of its new Online Customer Portal. Johnson concluded: “Homeowners want quality and they want choice. They also want it quickly. We have been refining our product range, stock holding and service offer to make sure that we’re able to support our customers in delivering it. “We believe we have an offer to be proud of but most importantly one that is fully tuned to the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead of us this year and beyond.” JAN 2014 31