There are some niche products that take off and turn into proper markets. Then there are some that stay very much a niche and don’t blow up into their own dedicated sectors. The lantern and skylight market is definitely the former of the two, and it’s on fire right now – in a good way.
Competitiveness to the extreme
Now the skylight and lantern market has been around for a long time, I don’t think that anyone is suggesting that it’s a brand new market. But it has been given a new lease of life thanks to the industry’s conservatory roof companies in the past few years.
The current crop of skylights and lanterns are much evolved compared to their predecessors, and in a market where diversification is a big key to unlocking the growth potential for many fabricators and installers, the race to the top of the lantern roof market has become extremely competitive.
You only need to spend a few minutes on Twitter before you see a tweet from either a conservatory roof company or dedicated lantern roof company touting their wares. Spend a little bit longer searching through your timeline and you’ll see that the number of companies doing these sorts of products is bigger than you think. It’s a quickly growing market and everyone wants in.
The quality question
As with most industries, there are varying qualities. Some companies are geared up to hit the quality end of the market, some are geared to up sell them on a volume basis. The question installers need to ask is which side of the fence do they want to position themselves on. You already know which side I’d pick.
The market also appears to be splitting down two ways, PVCu and aluminium. We have tried both, and the verdict from me is that aluminium is the better way to go. It’s stronger, sleeker, and a finer finish. Some fabricators do both materials and that’s great, choice is never a bad thing, but trust me, the aluminium product will do you more favours.
But going back to the competitiveness thing again, it’s been fascinating to see see some of the big hitters go at it in the marketing world to gain an upper edge. The notable names being Prefix, Atlas, UltraFrame and Eurocell. There are others too, including RoofMaker, Kat UK and Oak Roof Lanterns. It’s that last one which is worth keeping an eye on.
PVCu and aluminium seems to have had the most of the market so far. However, lets not forget about the role timber has to play.
In the wider window and door sector it is making a comeback. Perhaps not as strong as aluminium, but it is experiencing a surge in popularity again. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume that timber will also start to make it’s presence felt in the lantern roof market soon.
With popularity growing from home owners for something traditional, it would be a smart move for companies to start looking into a timber alternative.
It’s a frantic, exciting, innovative time in the lantern roof market and one which should bring plenty of extra revenue to those who get it right.