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Predictions about awning and canopy trends

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A survey conducted in November 2008 by IFAI asked U.S. and Canadian awning and canopy fabric end product manufacturers and suppliers to identify current issues or trends, the impact of those trends, and their expectations for 2009.

What do you expect to happen in 2009?

Suppliers responded:

  • Continued economic problems in 2009; loss of sales; customers postponing sales
  • Increased penetration from European fabric companies

End-product manufacturers responded:

  • An overall drop in sales in 2009 due to poor economy, especially residential awning sales
  • Increase in technology—computer graphics digitally printed on fabric
  • Green issues will increase the number of projects; PVC will drop in popularity
  • Service will become more important in order to retain customers
  • Reduction in number of companies competing for the same or decreasing number of customers; strong companies will expand market share and weaker firms will struggle or be eliminated
  • Raw material prices will remain high, which will drive down the number of projects
  • Fewer traditional awnings and more architectural style awnings
  • Increase in retractable sales; there will be a need to diversify beyond commercial awnings

What were the top trends affecting business in 2008?

Suppliers responded:

Trend: High raw material prices

Impact: Looking at alternative suppliers

Trend: Wider widths for fabric

Impact: Increase in sales of fabric volume

Trend: FR requirements—adoption of California standards

Impact: More sales opportunities for FR fabric business

Trend: More new fabrics

Impact: Increased sales opportunities/choices for customers

Trend: Poor economy

Impact: Depressed sales in 2008 and projected slow sales for 2009

End-product manufacturers responded:

Trend: Slow economy

Impact: Decreased sales; some customers are postponing their decision to purchase awnings/canopies

Trend: High raw material prices (especially acrylic canvas)

Impact: Downturn in sales; decrease in profit; buying alternative brands of acrylic canvas

Trend: Lack of skilled employees; labor shortage

Impact: Reduced output of product(s); fewer sale

Trend: Poor construction market, especially residential

Impact: Slowdown in orders for product/Loss of sales

Trend: Decrease in backlit awnings

Impact: Increase in digitally printed fabric

Trend: Growth in commercial awning business

Impact: Increased sales

Trend: Growth in recovers for awnings

Impact: Source of increased revenue

Trend: Consolidation of suppliers

Impact: More competition among suppliers; increased prices; lower profit margins

Trend: Divergent state and city building codes

Impact: Difficulty in meeting divergent state and city codes has contributed to a decrease in sales

Jeff Rasmussen is IFAI’s director of market research. Much of this information was derived from a survey conducted in November 2008 by IFAI with U.S. and Canadian awning and canopy fabric end product manufacturers and suppliers. Secondary research also supplemented the results presented in this summary.

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