Volume 10, Issue 3 - March 2009

from the publisher

Trend Spotting at IBS
by Tara Taffera

Different trends in the door and window industry come and go over the years. Thereís really no better way to see all the latest products in one place than at the International Buildersí Show (IBS). When I return from this event each year, I write about the top trends I experienced. This year I thought it would be interesting to compare what was seen this year to 2008. 

I looked back at my 2008 list to refresh my memory. Last year, door manufacturers were making a statement in the entryway; new vinyl lines were on parade; aluminum was still a force; green options exploded; automation/universal design were buzzwords; and many manufacturers introduced different materials so they could serve as single-source suppliers. 

A few of these trends continued in even greater numbers at this yearís show, while some fell off the list. For example, I didnít see too many aluminum options, but there were many new vinyl window introductions, and, there were a wide variety of automated products such as locks, etc. 

There were two trends on last yearís list that were even bigger this year. The first was the focus on energy-efficient products. This isnít a huge surprise as the new Energy Starģ requirements are pushing manufacturers to introduce more energy-efficient options. Itís nice to see that manufacturers arenít waiting for the final criteria to roll these out. 

I also noticed more manufacturers promoting certifications such as the Forest Stewardship Council and Scientific Certification Systems. I think this is great for the industry as it gives the consumer specific criteria to go by instead of a company simply proclaiming itself to be green. I hope this is something we see in even bigger numbers this year. The second is a focus on a complete line of products (single-source supplier). More than ever before, I saw companies that offered a variety of materials and products at different price points so builders of all sizes could come to them as their one-stop shop.

Doors and windows made of several different materials topped the list as well. Some manufacturers touted them as hybrids, but whatever the term, this was one growing product category that was displayed by several manufacturers. 

Itís no shock that many products were geared toward the luxury market as this is the one market segment that remains strong. Many manufacturers showed monumental patio doors, for example, designed to bring the outside in. 

It seemed to me that some manufacturers are offering more to their dealers, and at no charge, which points to the fact that in this competitive market, manufacturers really need to show their support for their dealer networks by giving them the tools they need to succeed. 

All this is good news for the industry. It proves that companies are still focusing on innovations and are preparing themselves for when the market picks up. 

DWM

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