Does Ducker Have it Right?

Christina Lewellen
June 27, 2012
THE TALK... | Markets & Trends

This week, we highlight numbers from the American Architectural Manufacturers Association and the Window & Door Manufacturers Association's annual market report prepared by Ducker Worldwide that indicate that there are, indeed, better days ahead for the window and door industry. In fact, the days we’re in right now really aren’t so bad either.

The AAMA/WDMA 2011-2012 U.S. Industry Statistical Review and Forecast suggests that a recovering residential housing market will spur window unit demand up this year by almost 7 percent. The forecast calls for a 13 percent increase in window sales in 2013. By 2015, total window shipments are expected to be just about even with pre-recession levels… did anybody make money in 2007? Seems to me that returning to 2007 levels is something worth celebrating.

I’ve admitted before that I’m a pretty upbeat person. The economic turmoil of the past few years didn’t break my spirit, and I’ve been anxiously awaiting stronger days for our industry. According to the qualified researchers who work on this report, those stronger days are upon us.

What's your reaction to the forecast? Are the numbers in line for what you expect for the next couple of years? Post a comment below or send me an email or and share your thoughts. Did Ducker get it right, in your opinion?


Survey Results as of 7/9/2012:


What do you think of Ducker's market projections?

They are too optimistic.





They sound about right.





They are too pessimistic.





With the trauma of the past few years, I'm not surprised that industry executives remain cautious. Nearly 70 percent of participants indicate that Ducker may be overly optimistic in predictions for the coming years.

According to one national window manufacturer rep who emailed me this week, " We thought the replacement forecast was optimistic given the level at which home owners have lost home equity the past few years. It will take many years for consumers to feel their homes have gained enough value to reinvest into them other than outright window failures that need immediate replacement.   The new construction growth lines up with ‘Blue Chip’ economists forecast on the industry recovery."

On the dealer side of things, another reader wrote to me:

"I am more of a glass half empty kind of guy – cautiously pessimistic would be a good characterization.  However, I have seen an uptick in the past 12 months with my business.  In our resort based market in northern Michigan I am seeing a bit of new construction, quite a bit of remodel/replace business, and a new, growing segment of the market – condominium replacements.  Many condos were built up here in the 80’s and 90’s some better than others.  We are seeing many of these 20-30 year old buildings seeing the end of life on their windows, doors, siding, roofing – etc.  Those associations that have prepared financially have been replacing and upgrading products, and it is a great opportunity for dealers all over to get in with these groups.  If you get your product(s) in the beginning of these types of projects, it’s really tough for competitors to step in.  It’s also a great opportunity for installed sales as well."
He wraps up with a somewhere-in-the-middle tone, stating, "Although I don’t see the demand growing as quickly as the experts predict – I do believe that we are on the road to a recovery of sorts  - somewhere between the boom of the late 90’s and 2009 would be great."


Contact Christina Lewellen, senior editor, at

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I don't believe it for a minute.
When we hit our first slump back around 2007, the crystal ball analysts predicted that 2010 was going to be the year for windows. I think that back then they were predicting a 23% uptick for 2010.

I've learned that it really does not matter what the predictions. I would not plan my capital budget based on an economic think tanks opinion. When it comes down to it, it's just that: an opinion. Nobody has a crystal ball, doesn't matter if the soothsayer's name has a PHD behind it or not. I Think the market will improve, it already has. At the bare minimum, there is not an emotional "funk" in every business conversation today. Our industry has weathered a major economic hurricane, more than the balance of the USA economy. Any improvement in the economy will be like a rain shower after a drought. Any rain at all will nourish whatever foliage is left on the trees that survive. Most of the "trees" in the window industry are "dry", most have seen their working capital shrink to very anemic ratios of current assets to current liabilities. Those that were conservative going into the Great Recession are the ones that will flourish vigorously if the predictions are correct. The report predicts a 45% growth by 2015. If that is correct, then there is going to be supply issues for those that are still in the business. Gosh, I hope that is true.

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