SHELTER Magazine

Only Online - Shelter July 2007

German Window Market Rebounding

Industry Indicator?
If the German window market is any indicator, following several years of slower business rates in the construction industry, the worst may be behind us. In the past year, orders for 11.4 million German window units were placed representing an increase of 6.4 percent over the previous year. This is all according to Interconnection Consulting (IC), a European market research institute that focuses on the building sector. Its IC Market Tracking® Windows in Germany analyzes the German window market annually. The group suggests its research points to a rebounding point for the construction and housing industry.

IC says in the coming years the growth rate will be lower, but remain in the positive range. If its forecast holds true, 12.3 million German window units will be sold by the year 2010. It also says, in comparison with other European nations, Germany, with its 14 window units per person per year, joins Italy at the bottom of the list.

IC's report suggests that, in the short term, new development projects will be mostly accountable for the upsurge in sales, due to large pre-emptive effects in 2006 caused by the final cancellation of the subsidies provided to homeowners and an increase in sales tax. Through a growth rate of 8.5 percent, IC says this segment was able to increase its rate from 1 to 46.4 percent. The renovation segment had a growth of 4.6 percent in 2006, also providing support to the window industry and, if the company's predictions are correct, renovation will once again be the driving force behind the market.

IC says the most requested framing material for windows continues to be PVC. Due to a quantitative growth rate of 7.9 percent, this product group was able to increase its rate by 53.5 percent. It's suggesting that the growth rates for this product will outrank those of other materials in the future, because it is often used during renovation. Despite a quantitative positive of 3.8 percent, wooden windows are losing their share in the market.

"Nevertheless, lumber will continue to have a strong hold in the window market in the long run," says Alexander Bonat, branch expert at Interconnection Consulting. "The future of wooden windows does not lie in cheap construction, but instead with the architecturally demanding segment of customers. Not to be forgotten is also the demand of our growing population of customers who seek natural building materials, which will soon bring an end to the decline in framing materials."