Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Strong growth for interior shutters in the UK window coverings market

The domestic window coverings market has remained positive throughout 2015, with an estimated 4% increase on 2014, following good growth in the previous year. Recent growth has been driven by several key factors, including a significant improvement in the housing market and the general strength of the wider economy, together with higher levels of both consumer confidence and spending. The market also continues to benefit from some pent-up demand, with homeowners spending more on home décor after a long period of restrained spending.

The UK window coverings market comprises of four major sectors - curtains, blinds, shutters and curtain suspension systems. Curtains are the largest sector with around 50% value share in 2015. Readymade curtains account for the largest share of the curtain sector, followed by custom made curtains, lightweight curtains and then curtain fabric.

The blinds sector has grown significantly in the last 3-4 years, underpinned by growing consumer confidence and a move towards more made to measure products. Windows are the biggest end use sector for blinds in 2015. Conservatories have lost share within the blinds end user mix due to recent trends towards orangeries and solid roofs, which have limited the applications for some higher value conservatory applications such as automated roof blinds. Custom made blinds have benefited from higher levels of spend on home décor, with a higher degree of trading up and demand for innovations and value added products as well as automation.

Interior shutters are a relatively new introduction to the UK market and have enjoyed a strong rise in popularly in the past decade. Market value has increased by around 15-20% per annum in recent years, and now represents a significant niche sector in the market. Medium–term forecasts for shutters also indicate good growth prospects, underpinned by their aesthetic appeal, as well as product innovations and wider distribution.

The distribution of window coverings in the UK is characterised by a high level of fragmentation and diversity, reflecting not only the product mix but also the different product delivery, installation and service requirements. The Internet/mail Order channel has grown strongly and accounts for over 25% of sector sales – growth has been driven by demand for both readymade and made to measure window coverings.

Market conditions remain are likely to remain challenging for suppliers. However, given the underlying positive trends in the housing market and housebuilding activity, our forecasts indicate steady annual market growth of around 3–4% going forward. There are still a number of challenges however, reflecting market maturity with high levels of competition and growing foreign imports, and the growth in online sales.

“Levels of consumer confidence and spending on window coverings have improved throughout 2014-15, and indications are that this will continue into the medium-term. This should result in value growth with the market also benefiting from a move towards higher value products, such as automated blinds” said Andrew Hartley, Director of AMA Research. “In terms of supply structure, there is likely to be a greater move towards more multi-sector providers – e.g. blinds specialists also supplying curtains – which is likely to provide acquisition opportunities for some of the leading suppliers.”

The market for curtains is likely to be sustained by replacement demand, but with increasing focus on extended services such as “measured, made and fitted”. The blinds sector is current forecast to increase by around 12% between 2015 to 2020, with value growth underpinned by uptake of more expensive made-to-measure products and increased use of automation in some applications. As a new entrant into the sector, growth in the shutters market has been particularly buoyant over the last 5 years, with medium term forecasts indicating that annual rates of growth are likely to outperform the overall market.

The ‘Domestic Window Coverings Market Report – UK 2016-2020 Analysis’ report is published by AMA Research, a leading provider of market research and consultancy services with over 25 years’ experience within the construction and home improvement markets. The report is available now and can be ordered online at or by calling 01242 235724.

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