A new national consumer poll by super-fabricator Sierra suggests the retail GRP composite door market remains a still largely untapped commercial opportunity.
The survey of almost 1,000 households found the majority of consumers had only a limited understanding of the make-up of GRP composite doors, selecting PVC-U panel, timber and steel doors as their preferred material type.
Brian Webb, divisional sales and marketing director at Sierra Parent, Epwin Group Building Products division said: “It’s clearly down to interpretation but I don’t believe that for one minute that if homeowners understood the thermal efficiencies, the strength, security and just how good an aesthetic match GRP delivers to timber without the maintenance, that they would select timber or steel above it.
“I’m convinced that this is an issue of awareness and that the inference has to be that installers aren’t taking the product offer to the home owner. if this is the case, and I believe it is, GRP doors represent a significant and comparatively untapped retail opportunity.”
According to the Sierra study, security is the major driver for door replacements. In particular those respondents aged 60 or above, highlighting it as the determining factor (53 per cent), followed by appearance (38 per cent), price (6 per cent) and low maintenance (3 per cent). This trend was largely followed by the 45 to 60 and 30 to 45 age groups.
For the 18 to 30 category price took on proportionally more importance, cited by 15 per cent as the determining factor in their purchase while security was listed by 45 per cent in this group as their priority and appearance by 40 per cent of respondents, low maintenance and energy efficiency making up the remainder.
Webb continued: “The qualities that we see consumers list as importance in a door are strengths delivered in GRP, security and strong aesthetics.
“The relatively slow take up in retail may come down to price point but affordability is increasing all of the time. The composite door market is a very real area of opportunity.”
More broadly, figures for the composite door market provide one of the few positive areas of reading for the window and door industry. Describing it as “the success story for the UK window industry” in its 2011 Annual PVC-U Window Industry Report published at the end of the summer, D&G Consulting forecast consistent growth in composite door volumes from 620,000 units this year to 664,000 units by 2014.
It adds that this rate of growth can be expected to increase as retail markets catch up with the social sector.