Overall Demand Increase of 4% Annually Over 2016
Overall windows demand is forecast to increase from 49 million units in 2016 to 56 million units in 2019, a 4% annual growth rate driven largely by new construction. While the majority of demand is comprised of replacement windows, this segment is projected to increase at just 3% annually while new construction growth is projected at 9% annually, as shown in the figure below.
Windows Market Categories and Benefits
In new construction, “better” windows are replacing the “good” category in the classic “good-better-best” lineup, and vinyl windows are moving up among mid-tier and higher end products. Having more options to select from is a draw for the semi-custom and custom home markets where higher performance products like clad wood and composite windows have traditionally been selected.
Vinyl windows are now more mainstream accounting for 60% of all window units nationally. Manufacturers are pulling away from just focusing on starter homes and are putting increased attention on serving the custom home market. Although vinyl is still a strong product within the “good” category, vinyl windows are now also viewed as an option in the mid-tier and higher end categories. Common selling points for vinyl and composite windows include lower cost which can be half the cost of wood, scratch resistant, reduced warping, and eliminating the need to repaint. Although many alternative materials offer these features, pricing can be a major tiebreaker among selection criteria.
Windows Replacement Market
The replacement market is forecast to grow more slowly. Nevertheless, both vinyl and composites are projected to grow at 5% annually and capture share from other frame materials which are projected to grow at a 3% annual rate, as shown in the figure below.
Principia’s research on the windows market has shown increased preference among homeowners for vinyl and composite frames in replacement windows. The majority (55%) of homeowners reported replacing windows due to old age, and many are choosing vinyl and composites as the replacement material in place of what was originally wood. According to Remodeling Magazine’s recent 2016 Cost vs. Value Report, window replacement recoups just over 70% of the investment and total replacement can average between $14,000 for vinyl windows and $18,000 for composite windows respectively.
For replacement windows of all types, homeowners are focusing on energy efficiency, low-maintenance, durability, and style. When considering style for window replacement homeowners evaluate size, design, and curb appeal options. Color selection has increased in popularity over recent years as a considered style choice. A recent article from Improvenet.com highlights that homeowners can opt to have their windows upgraded with color, texture or even veneer. Historically white and off white have dominated in terms of color but most recently tan, gray, black red and green are increasing in popularity. Some manufacturers are even offering custom color capabilities. According to Window & Door Magazine, 39% of manufacturers added products in 2015 to expand their color options and 21% more planned to add new colors in 2016. Customization is critical in the custom homebuilding market and contributes to increased use of vinyl and composites in higher end homes.