With almost all Covid-related restrictions lifted across Australia, the worst of the pandemic seems to be behind us. Trade show are back with the first global show IWCE (page 33) held recently in Florida welcoming a record turnout in terms of visitors. The BMAA is already meeting to plan the SuperExpo 2023, which will be held on the Gold Coast in June next year, and there seems to be a genuine hunger and need for people in the industry to get back together. While we have all learnt how to conduct business remotely in the pandemic, there is no replacing the connections made in person, particularly when seeking new business. I certainly feel that this magazine, for example, would not have been able to gain traction 15 years ago had I tried to launch it during a pandemic.

The resumption of travel will herald a resurgence of face-to-face meetings, but it will be a double-edged sword for this industry. The reopening of borders will see a lot of spending that has been so focused on the home, return to overseas holidays. This popping of the sales bubble has already happened in some sectors, retail ecommerce being the canary in the mineshaft, with consumers in this case shifting back to their old habits of shopping malls and in-person shopping.

This shift in consumer behaviour will soon be felt at the tills of retail stores in this industry, or as one retailer described it to me, “it will be back to being quote writers, not order takers.” 

Other pandemic side-effects, including the rising cost of inputs and supply chain issues, are unlikely to go away anytime soon. This edition, we look at local manufacturing and the way the Covid19 crisis has switched the focus of this industry towards being self-sufficient. Since the beginning of the pandemic, local manufacturing has boomed, with companies expanding – building new factories, while several new players have arrived on our shores to set up a local manufacturing base. The supply chain has shortened in the last two years, and for very good reasons. There are companies who have gone under during this pandemic (see Boardwalk Shutters Wound Up – page 20) because their business was reliant on deliveries of foreign manufactured goods. While the industry globally is suffering from cost increases in raw materials, there is definitely a choice to be made about where you source your wholesale window furnishings.


Editor & Publisher

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