The Hope of a New Year
The industry is poised for tremendous growth and innovation this year, but it won’t come without its challenges
Despite some daunting challenges, demand for residential fenestration products and services is hot.
At the start of the new year last month, I was filled with hope as we bid farewell to 2020 and looked ahead to 2021. There’s something about retiring my 2020 planner and opening my brand new 2021 planner that makes me think anything is possible. (Yes, I still use a paper planner, in addition to my electronic calendars.)
But there is a lot more that is new about this new year besides an updated calendar. January saw the swearing in as Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States, alongside Kamala Harris as vice president. And, notably, two COVID-19 vaccines are circulating, with more in the testing and approval process. With that comes the hope of health for millions of people and a more confident economic rebound.
The residential fenestration industry, it seems, is also hopeful and is already banking on a fantastic year of growth and innovation. Much of this is captured in this issue’s coverage of the 2021 Industry Pulse, which surveyed suppliers, manufacturers and dealers to get their take on the coming year and how the lessons of the past year are shaping future business. We also spoke directly with more than a dozen companies to dive further into what we can expect to see in 2021 and beyond.
The key takeaway? Despite some daunting challenges, demand for residential fenestration products and services is hot.
Already in 2020, companies were struggling to keep up with unprecedented demand for products, further challenged by disruptions in the supply chain because of the coronavirus. Sources don’t see demand ebbing in 2021; rather, most project it will increase or at least remain at 2020’s high levels. Across dealers, manufacturers and supplier survey respondents, 77 percent expect to have sales growth this year, with only 3 percent anticipating a decline. (The remaining 20 percent predict static numbers.) See the Industry Pulse, for more supply chain and demand insights.
In the Industry Forecast, Dodge Data & Analytics predicts single-family housing to grow 6 percent in volume this year, driven largely by low mortgage rates, first-time buyers and the demand for more space. The growth, however, will face some barriers, including the continuing pandemic and economic uncertainty, as well as rising lumber prices and labor woes.
As companies prepare for what several sources predict to be a banner year, some may look to invest in their workforce through training and expansion. Janice Yglesias, executive director of FGIA, makes a case for installation and skilled training programs on Eye on Fenestration. Meanwhile, Your Business Matters shares how companies can take steps to encourage diversity, inclusion and open communication.
The year appears to be off to a strong start. As always, Window + Door will keep apprised of the latest news, trends and issues affecting the residential fenestration industry.