How's It Going?
Survey Results as of 7/9/2010:
How Will 2010 Sales Compare with 2009?
Less than last year
5 to 10 percent higher
10 to 20 percent higher
More than 20 percent higher
Higher, but less than 5 percent
This year started with some optimism, but it is fizzling a bit in the heat of summer. Our poll results are not very encouraging, with the majority of respondents suggesting that their company's sales will be less than last year or basically flat.
That's not what economists or market researchers appear to expect, at least for the residential window and door segment. While the recovery may not be as strong as some hoped, things are still trending upward. In his latest Industry Watch column, AAMA's Rich Walker points to some of the positives, including better numbers in new housing and the remodeling activity. He also notes the numerous reasons for caution.
On the ground, most manufacturers and dealers I speak with indicate things are better this year, but they all still say times are tough. "It has been another challenging year so far in 2010," writes Wayne Gorell of Gorell Windows & Doors. "We are currently and expect to remain ahead of 2009 by about 10 percent, as we did in 2009 over 2008. The problem is this is virtually all, as it was last year, generated by taking share—adding new accounts to our family of dealers. We still see severe weakness in all of our markets which is everything east of the Rockies, dealers are reporting extreme difficulty generating leads, and even more difficulty obtaining financing. The feeling is that the public is still scared and unsure, and with the reduced housing values, it is difficult for many of them to justify investing in their homes that are worth significantly less than they were a year or two ago."
Gorell does see one bright spot ahead, noting that the expiration of the tax credit for efficient windows and doors will spur much activity at the end of this year. That is no doubt true, but it also begs the question of what comes next. I've been wondering about that recently. Will there be Home Star to replace the tax credits? Will Home Star be as effective in spurring demand? Will the economy be showing enough signs of life to eliminate the need for government stimulus? My guess is that all of us have lots of questions.