More Insights on 2012

 

Greg Irving

 

Soft-Lite LLC

 

As Window & Door prepared its annual forecast issue, industry executives shared their thoughts and predictions for the coming year in much more depth than could be gathered together in one article. In "More Insights on 2012," we present their detailed answers to questions about the coming year.

 

First, let’s start with the most general question for a forecast piece. What do you expect 2012? Will 2012 finally be “the year” we start seeing some turnaround, or is recovery further off than that?

We expect 2 percent to 5 percent sales growth in 2012.

What do you expect the biggest challenges for the industry will be in 2012?

Difficulty in obtaining financing. Manufacturers that are highly leveraged will experience cash flow challenges. We will witness continued downsizing by our competitors. Compressed margins and downward price pressure are affecting profitability for many companies as they try to reduce their fixed costs.

What will new construction look like in 2012?

New construction will grow at 1 percent to 2 percent.

What about remodeling/replacement work? What is likely to drive business in this segment?

Homeowners are staying in their homes and will be investing more in maintaining their asset.
 
What’s going to be happening with energy efficiency in the coming year? Is the industry focus on ramped-up Energy Star requirements?

We are experiencing elevated interest in higher-performing window and door products. Energy Star and U-value improvement will drive consumer product selection. Air infiltration rates are becoming more significant.

On a (hopefully) positive note, do you see any particular product segments or geographic regions outperforming the industry as a whole?

The Mid-Atlantic area is showing the strongest growth, we expect that to continue in 2012.

How much of an impact does lending (or lack thereof) have on the business? The National Association of Home Builders is making financing-related discussions one of its top priorities this year—are they on the mark?

The two largest dealer requirements center around improved financing and lead generation. They are on the mark.

For those who are buying, what window and door products are they selecting? What features are important?

Products that reflect low U-values, low air infiltration rates and improved design pressures.
 
Is your company likely to be hiring, laying off, or maintaining the status quo in 2012?
 
We will be maintaining our current head count.

Do you have anything else to add?

We expect 2012 to be the new “normal” sales year for the industry.
 

 

Window & Door's "More Insights on 2012" also features questions and answers about the coming year from the following people: