Demand for plastic windows is forecast to rise 5.5 percent per year to $6.5 billion in 2021, outpacing wood and metal windows and accounting for half of total sales, according to a new study from The Freedonia Group, a Cleveland-based industry research firm.

Home and business owners will continue to specify vinyl windows for their energy efficiency, low cost and low maintenance. Specialty plastic windows are projected to see above-average gains, spurred by increased demand for skylights, roof windows, and customized shapes. Fiberglass and wood-plastic composite products are expected to gain share, although vinyl will continue to represent over 90 percent of sales, according to the report.

“The residential market will continue to account for nearly 90 percent of plastic window sales, as builders of commercial structures rely more heavily on metal products for their superior durability and security,” said Freedonia analyst Carolyn Zulandt.

Plastic windows saw much faster penetration of residential markets through 2016, primarily by displacing wood products. However, vinyl and fiberglass windows have displaced many wood windows used in offices, retail structures, and such structures as hotels and educational facilities.

Spurred by continued gains in housing starts, the brightest outlook is projected for the new residential market, according to the report. In addition, homebuyers’ demand for premium windows with unique aesthetics (including casement, horizontal sliding, and specialty styles) is increasing the average cost of windows per new home.

Healthy growth in construction spending for office, retail, lodging and institutional structures will bolster demand for commercial windows, as will increased sales of large window area products such as curtain walls and storefronts. In addition, building owners are increasingly investing in high-performance windows to reduce utility bills and achieve green building certifications such as LEED.

Window manufacturers have engaged in significant acquisition activity to expand their product range and to capture growing share of target markets. PGT Innovations, for instance, expanded into commercial applications through its 2016 purchase of US Impact Systems. It also increased its portfolio of impact-resistant windows through its acquisition of WinDoor. Pella purchased both Reilly Windows and Doors and Duratherm Windows in 2016, while Apogee Enterprises is bolstering its position in the curtain wall market through the acquisition of EFCO from Pella.

For more information or to purchase the report, follow this link.

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