The competitive position of wood products in the residential siding market
A nationwide mail survey of professional home builders, remodelers, and siding contractors was undertaken to develop a better understanding of professional end users and the patterns of competition in the residential siding market. Perceptual mapping and determinant attribute analysis are demonstrated to have strategic applications in the forest products industry.
Four-hundred and twelve respondents provided information related to activities involving siding, product use, and distribution. Product-markets were explored using siding preferences, which were measured for single-family homes in six home price categories. Perceptions of siding materials were used to evaluate the threat that non-wood materials pose to solid wood, hardboard, and plywood sidings. Respondents rated seven siding materials on eleven attributes. Perceptual maps were constructed using multiple discriminant analysis, and preferences were used to locate ideal points.
Negative perceptions of all wood products exist in terms of weather resistance and maintenance. Solid wood holds a niche in appearance/status, and remains competitive against brick because of brick's application cost. While solid wood siding remains relatively free from substitution threats, vinyl's threat would increase if repositioned to enhance its appearance/status. Vinyl poses a considerable threat to hardboard and plywood. Hardboard's lack of competitive advantage and position relative to vinyl makes it particularly vunerable to vinyl substitution.
Comparisons of users and non-users of each product are made, and general guidelines of using the perceptual map for positioning, promotion, and new product strategies are given.