What’s the state and direction of the window and door industry in 2021 and beyond? Every research firm measures the fenestration industry differently. Some, such as IBISWorld, estimate the size of the US fenestration market to be roughly $12.4 billion in 2021. Freedonia, a market research firm in Cleveland, Ohio, for example, estimated that by 2021, the window and door industry would hit $34 billion. Key Media & Research estimates the North American window and door industry market to be around $23.5 billion in 2021, “including the purchase and installation of windows and doors for residential construction and replacement.”
No matter the source or how you measure the market, the fenestration industry in the United States and around the world is growing. How much? Well, again that depends on the research company and the website you read. Depending on the source and the research firm, estimates range between 4-5 percent year-over-year. So, if you follow Freedonia, that means the window and door industry would be roughly $42.4 billion by 2026. If you adhere to the Key Media numbers, you would see $29.3 billion by 2026, if you use a growth rate of 4.5 percent per year.
What factors into the increase? Innovation is one factor lending itself to this discussion. With the invention of new products, such as folding glass walls (think NanaWall), comes newer products, which traditionally cost more money due to research and development. R&D can be expensive, which then leads you to a discussion on price. Involved in a discussion of price is also inflation as it plays a role in the year-over-year price increases witnessed by consumers. The shortage of labor and the strain the pandemic has put on manufacturing companies could explain some of the rise in prices/costs. With fewer skilled laborers comes a rise in wages, which is passed onto the consumer in higher prices. Supply and demand for building materials could be another factor contributing to the increase. As of publication, the housing market in the United States is experiencing high demand and low supply. This is driving up housing and material costs. According to the NAHB, “Lumber prices have skyrocketed more than 180% since spring , and this price spike has caused the price of an average new single-family home to increase by $24,386 since April 17, 2020.” The cost of other raw materials to build windows and doors is also rising putting yet another strain on the limited supply.
Depending on the year, a different section of the industry seems to lead the charge higher. For example, in 2020, new single-family home construction led the industry higher in a year of complex ups, downs, and pivots. Additionally, the remodeling sector received a strong boost from people staying at home, according to Key Media & Research’s 2021 Door and Window Industry Outlook. According to Key Media & Research’s Industry Outlook, remodeling activity, which is a key indicator of window and door replacement demand, “has increased in most quarters since the end of 2017.” Going into 2021, Key Media & Research as well as other reporting agencies estimated continued growth but at a slower rate than during the pandemic.
What does 2021 and beyond hold? That is a difficult question to answer with some analysts suggesting good fortune for 2021 through to 2023. The proposed infrastructure bill by President Biden on March 30, 2021, could fuel the fenestration industry for years to come. Outside of the bill, however, bigger micro-economic questions exist around companies and the future of the work force, which makes predicting beyond 2021 murky at best.
Will hospitality and corporate-building construction pick back up in 2021 and beyond? Again, the pent-up demand for travel is clear. Watch any news or financial show and you’ll hear discussions on airplane ticket demand for the second half of 2021. Cruise ships are recording record bookings into 2022 and beyond. The desire to travel is clear. However, the desire of employees to enter and work in an office building is downright muddy. If you can work remotely, you want to stay remote. I hear this all the time from friends and colleagues, even those suspicious of remote working arrangements in the beginning now embrace working remotely, fi they have a designated place to work from every-day living area.
No matter the construction sub-segment, activity is projected to increase to roughly $24 billion in 2021, according to Key Media & Research’s 2021 Door and Window Industry Outlook. This is an increase of roughly $500 million from 2020 to 2021 as the rate of growth moderates. From 2014 to 2016, residential fenestration spending increased by double digits. Since 2016, the increase has moderated.
Entering 2021, 73 percent of respondents (dealers and manufacturers) view the current business climate as favorable, according to Key Media & Research’s 2021 Door and Window Industry Outlook. Similar enthusiasm is reported by Window & Door Magazine. Based on this enthusiasm, how can you prepare for future changes? As you read deeper into the Industry Outlook, you’ll see stressors among fenestration fabricators, such as extended lead times, supply chain issue, labor shortage, and political uncertainty most of which were present before the pandemic started. There are bright spots though, as posited out by the Industry Outlook, including stronger sales and streamlined operations, which can help companies better handle a future crisis. Addressing these stressors will help you prepare your employees and the company as a whole for future growth.
As we go through 2021 and beyond, changes in the economy and people’s buying habits will keep the fenestration industry and companies on their toes. Be ready to pivot quickly, adapt your product mix, train new employees or retrain existing employees, sources materials from new suppliers, meet the growing demand of Millennials and Zoomers, and/or change sales tactics. The next few years will be exciting, so be cautious but hopeful as you walk the road ahead!