» Stabilization to 75% of the pre-crisis level
In 2016, 69.7 million window units will be sold in Europe at a market value of 18.7 billion Euros. The market is growing for the second time in a row, however compared with the 93.2 million windows sold in 2007, one can at best speak of market stabilization. 82.1% of all windows are located west of the Oder-Neiße border, with the Germany-Austria-Switzerland region accounting for 17 million windows. In Eastern Europe, which includes the Visegrád countries as well as Romania, Bulgaria and the former Yugoslavia, Poland is by far the largest market with 46.1% in quantity. At the same time, the demand in Eastern Europe (3.6%) doubled compared to Western Europe. Strengthened by foreign direct investment, especially in the IT and automotive industry, these countries are benefiting from the slow recovery from the financial and Euro-crisis. Employment security and rising wages coupled with low interest rates make it possible especially for the younger generation to invest in a home, says Dennis Rauen, author of the study.
» Go East – Production shifts to the East
While most windows continue to be installed in Western Europe, the development of the production shifts to Eastern European markets. Poland currently exports about 50% of its window production. Romania is also becoming a major windows exporter. While the demand is growing, window builders in the West are still exposed to the price pressure of Eastern European competition. Their indirect form of distribution creates disruptive innovations within the industry. Anyone who cannot make the production more cost-effective by means of company acquisitions or relocation to low-wage countries, gives it up and focuses on the installation of windows. As a result, the value chain has an additional participant.
» Plastic is still in fashion
The trend towards plastic windows continues. 46.6% of all windows are made of plastic. By way of comparison, in 2007 the cross-country market share was 41.7%. Plastic windows are on the one hand cheap, especially if they come from Eastern Europe and on the other hand, they are now available in different colors and are thus more attractive for the end customer. Interconnection assumes that every third plastic window comes in color. In addition, combinations of wood/ aluminum have gained market shares in recent years, but their popularity is limited to the Scandinavian markets and the Germany-Austria-Switzerland region. The least favourable materials are metal and wood which have lost 8.3% market shares between 2007 and 2016.
» Restrained growth in the coming years
The average growth in the next three years in the entire European window market is predicted to be 2.6% in terms of volume per year. This means that more than 75 million windows will have been sold in 2019. Taking various European crises into account, this is a positive development, however, at the same time the industry has to accept that it will have to operate in a market that shrank by ¼ of its former size. The markets of Germany and the Scandinavian countries seem to have a bright future as they have accumulated 3.0% in quantity and will grow 4.8% in value.