I went back to Google Trends for inspiration for this post. It’s a brilliant tool if you’re looking to research something. It’s been around for a while now. It was a bit of a blunt tool at first. But as the years have gone on, Google have sharpened it, made it more accurate, and can really give you some valuable insights once you’ve punched a few search terms into the engine.

I wanted to take a look at how the main window materials have performed in the world of search, to give us an insight as to what people have been searching for, and to give us an indication of what is to come.

PVC vs Ali vs Timber

We all know how strong the comeback has been for aluminium windows. It was spawned out of the popularity of aluminium bi-folding doors and has been a growth market ever since.

So, I typed the three major window material search terms into Google Trends, and added a hybrid window term as well just for laughs, and this is what it spat out:

Key: Blue – PVC Windows | Red – Aluminium Windows | Yellow – Timber Windows | Green – Hybrid Windows

The dotted line at the end is a Google prediction of where search term traffic is going to go. I’m not sure how they reach that conclusion as it’s December soon and all these search terms are going to drop off a cliff.

Back to the main story though, and if you’re making or selling aluminium then this is a chart that should make for good reading. For clarity, this is a Trends chart narrowed to the UK only and based on the last 12 months of activity.

In the last third of the chart there is quite a clear gap between searches for aluminium windows against the other two major metrics. This has to be seen as a sign of continued strength in this sector, and that demand from home owners for aluminium windows is still on the rise.

You will also see the green line, representing hybrid windows, bumping along at the bottom. A mostly “meh” result. But it’s worth taking a closer look at that small but sustained rise in search traffic right at the end of the time period. That is a clear, steady rise in energy around the term, which may indicate a steady increase from the public in hybrid windows. There are already a number of hybrid products out there, including WarmCore windows from Synseal and Opus by Prefix Systems. It’s possible that home owners are now starting to become more aware of these sorts of products in a more sustained way now. I think this is a term to watch as we head into 2018.

If your business is still core PVC, then this perhaps is a head scratcher. Timber windows even managed to edge out activity on this chart, leaving PVC languishing in third. Much has been made of the aluminium renaissance, but it’s worth remembering that timber windows remain popular in the retail sector of fenestration in the UK.

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The long term trend

Google Trends also lets you go all the way back to 2004. So, that’s exactly what I did, minus the hybrid window term, and this is what it shows:

Key: Blue – PVC Windows | Red – Aluminium Windows | Yellow – Timber Windows

This is a 13 year look at how the main window materials have performed in search traffic, and there has been quite a distinct reversal in the fortunes of PVC and aluminium windows. Timber has remained fairly level within a range, but aluminium has steadily been increasing it’s traffic over this 13 year period. PVC, in blue, has seen a steady decline.

This is the evolution of aluminium and the consolidation of PVC in action. There is no doubt that PVC products have evolved massively in these 13 years. Aluminium though has perhaps gone through the biggest reversal in fortunes, with more installers than ever before now installing aluminium windows and doors.

The trend for 2018 I see as being no different. Aluminium syscos and fabricators have been investing much money and time into creating new product lines suitable for the residential sector, readying themselves to cash in on the rise in their popularity. The only spanner in the works I can see is if the living standards squeeze starts to put the brakes on their renaissance for a little while. Aluminium windows do come at a premium generally speaking over PVC. Will external economic factors start to cool it?

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