AMA Research forecast assumes a “short, sharp shock” in 2020

Revised forecasts from AMA Research suggest COVID-19 and lockdown will deliver a nine per cent drop in the value of the window coverings market this year.

However, prospects for the medium and longer term were positive, with moderate but sustained growth forecast through to 2022.

The global nature of the COVID-19 virus has meant that the slowdown in manufacturing has been on an international scale and has affected the availability of cheaper imports into the UK, which could lead to increased demand for UK produced window coverings products into the medium-term.

As consumer confidence levels increase and job securities issues begin to fade into the medium-term, consumers are likely to return to more normal buying behaviour including trading-up to higher quality and more innovative products when replacing existing window coverings.

The domestic window coverings market in the UK consists of four key product sectors: curtains (including lightweight curtains), blinds, shutters and curtain suspension systems.

The shutters and blinds sectors have continued to grow at a faster pace than other areas of the domestic window coverings market, such as curtains. This has been driven by the appeal of additional features such as motorised blinds and the introduction of fashionable designs.

Curtains are estimated to account for around 48% of the total market in 2019-20. While this has declined slightly in recent years, it highlights the competitive nature of the window coverings market, as well as the growing appeal of different types of window coverings. A notable trend has been the increase in demand for made to measure curtains, which are also offered online.

Blinds account for nearly a third of the domestic window coverings market and this has remained consistent over the past two years. However, there has been greater uptake of automated blinds and more ‘technical’ blinds, such as energy efficient, blackout and combination day/night blinds. Competition, both online and in-store has however intensified.

The shutters sector has continued to grow year on year, as consumers seek a more aspirational look. Key to this growth has been the wider availability of these products, including online.

The forecast assumes a “short, sharp shock” in 2020 with a value decline of nine per cent as the market adjusts to the impact of COVID-19 restrictions. This will be followed by glimmers of good growth potential of up to 16% to 2024 underpinned by a certain amount of pent-up consumer demand.

As a mature market sector, but one that contains many innovative products, the window coverings market has tended to be relatively robust in the face of slowing consumer confidence and spending with evidence of down-trading when consumer spending is under pressure.