Deceuninck Comment: Q1 2024

Compared with the overall market for windows and doors, which is about -15% down, Q1 has been strong for Deceuninck. Ending this quarter -1.9% down from Q1 2023, it’s a reflection of our performance and our positioning, where we focus on the premium end of the market.

I’m hoping that will give us a springboard effect and, as the year progresses, we’ll see stronger signals from the economy. Inflation has dropped from 11.2% down to 2.3% in May.

My personal feeling is, by the time we get to the middle of the summer, we’ll see inflation drop a little further, interest rates drop a little, and maybe slightly lower mortgage rates, which will all add to confidence.

The premium market, mostly older homeowners with low or no mortgages, have got plenty of money to spend, and by giving our customers the tools to encourage them to part with it, we’re hoping to stay one step ahead of the game.

And 2025?  We hear gloomy pundits commenting on their expectations for the economy, but I think we’ll see growth in the last two quarters of 2024. We’re not going to go back to the Covid times when we all had ridiculous volumes. But we are back at 2018-2019 levels, and over the last six months, we’ve seen some significant volume being released into the marketplace. So, there’s plenty of opportunity out there.

The PM, Rishi Sunak, has fired the general election starting gun but the underlying message from the front runner will be ‘change for something better’ and, from all parties, ‘there are better times coming. Then in July, a new Government will inject a sustained blast of optimism, and expectations and confidence will improve. We know from GfK’s April Consumer Confidence Index that people are expecting their personal financial circumstances to get better in the next 12 months. And that’s on top of a dramatic improvement in confidence over the last year. Economic realities will not be improved by a new Government, but we can expect things to get and feel better. So, I think we’ll have a great back end to this year, and a good start to 2025.

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