The overall decking and railing industry has been relatively stable over the last couple of years. Total demand for decking and railing materials in the North American residential market was valued at $4.1 billion based on supplier factory gate prices in 2014 compared with $3.6 billion in 2012. While the improving economy has had a modest impact on category demand, the increased sales in 2014 versus 2012 represent a shift to more expensive decking and railing materials, according to a report issued by Principia Consulting.
A Major Shift in Composites Has Occurred−And Will Continue
The decking and railing industry has undergone a shift from traditional uncapped composites and cellular PVC decking materials to capped composite decking (see figure below). Capped decking provides the industry with a product that offers true low maintenance features at a variety of price points and aesthetic choices.
Principia Consulting, Residential Decking and Railing 2015 report
Composite decking is forecast to grow at a 5% compounded annual growth rate through 2017, which is faster than the industry average of 3%. However, the shift in composite decking offerings to higher price point products could limit growth opportunities for the upper end of the composite decking market.
Suppliers should consider how benefit awareness, price (ultimately value) and product distribution will influence product sales.
Continued Struggle with Benefits Awareness
Fifty-one percent of homeowners surveyed, who had recently built or planned to build a deck, stated that they don’t clearly understand the benefits of composite decking. To increase market share, composite manufacturers may consider increasing promotional efforts to educate the market on the benefits of composites over treated lumber, specifically capped decking materials and the advantage of lower maintenance requirements.