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END OF THE GRAVY TRAIN: WE ALL NEED TO UP OUR GAME

August 4th, 2022 - Beth

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There is a generation of homeowners that have never known serious hardship. That is changing and we need everything in our marketing armoury to stimulate sales in the coming months

After two years of Covid, we could all have hoped that the gods might be kinder to us. But 2022 has, to say the least, been challenging so far. With the war in Ukraine revealing just how intrinsically linked are world affairs, even the most comfortable British and Irish households are now facing cost of living increases that few of us can have anticipated. And even wealthier homes will have had the enormous rises in energy costs, for example, brought to their attention.

Linda Tomb, marketing manager for leading residential door brand Apeer, says that as a result the market is changing significantly; and we need to up our game: “Just as Covid affected the home improvement market in ways that we could not have anticipated, I believe that there will now be not only a correction in demand for home improvement products, but a change in the drivers, the decision-making process for replacement windows, doors, garden rooms and doors and similar high-cost items.”

Not only does Linda believe that we need to reconsider how we market our products, she thinks that many of us will have become complacent, as homeowners have clamoured to spend on their homes post-Covid: “There have already been clear signs that the post-pandemic excitement in the market may be curtailing. And whilst so far this remains a welcome settling of the market rather than serious fall, with positive outcomes for supply chains and lead times, we must assume that with cost pressures being so unpredictable, sales may fall further.”

Rather than being all doom and gloom however, Linda believes that we must simply work harder for business than recently: “Most homeowners remain committed to improving their properties, which remain at the heart of their financial wellbeing. But they will be more analytical in their decision-making on capital expenditure, which is to be expected. So, providing additional justification in the form of energy savings, security and enhancement of the value of their property will help in that process,” she says.

The energy price rises can add a significant impetus to sales, confirms Linda: “Everyone is looking to reduce energy bills,” said Linda. “And replacing the front door can realise tangible savings with energy costs being so high. Apeer doors already comfortably surpassed the revised Approved Document L that came into force in June, and this allows our installer customers to go to homeowners with the confidence of offering new residential doors that will reduce energy bills.”

“There is also a growing feeling of insecurity,” believes Linda. “Perhaps irrationally, people are feeling threatened by the pressures being imposed upon them by life generally, with images flashed up on our screens of war and hardship promoting unease. We must respond positively to all social drivers and promote the distinct security enhancements that a new residential door will bring, when we are marketing and selling resi doors.”

The central core of Apeer’s marketing in recent years has been unashamedly ‘lifestyle’ orientated, which sought to appeal to homeowners to replace their residential doors as part of home decoration, as much as structural improvements: “Resi door sales are now a distinct standalone opportunity as well as being included as part of a larger improvement project. In recent years we have also targeted home decorators, suggesting that a new door can be part of a decoration project for the cost of a couple of sofas.”

The drivers that work well in calmer markets now need to be added to the more tangible benefits of energy efficiency, security and value enhancement, she says: “We need to appeal of course for when a home is being renovated and when the old front door is falling off its hinges; but also when a homeowners decides to just give the place a general makeover. As sales become harder, we need to up our game, perhaps even reverting to more traditional and conventional means of securing an order. Fortunately, as an industry we are offering products that are better than ever, which will help us compete against other capital items such as kitchens and holidays. But it will not be as easy as it has been,” concluded Linda.

www.apeer.co.uk

ISSUE: JULY 2022

 


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