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Wholesalers dominate but buying preferences differ

EUROPE: A new report from Rotterdam-based marketing consultancy USP reveals wide differences in purchase behaviour amongst HVAC contractors across Europe. 

The survey of businesses in six countries – the UK, Germany, France, Poland, Belgium and the Netherlands – found that, while direct delivery from the manufacturer is increasing, the specialised installation wholesaler is still dominant in the ordering process. 

The growth of the internet, and with most wholesalers and distributors now offering online sales, the ordering options have never been greater. However, the USP survey suggests a wide disparity between member states adopting this comparatively new way of doing business.

In Poland, the UK and France, the ordering behaviour is still very traditional. Installers order via telephone, fax, email, or visit the branch to place an order. In Poland only 9% on installers order over the internet, just ahead of the UK at 10%. In France it’s 16%. This contrasts with Belgium (27%), Germany (44%) and the Netherlands (50%).

In addition, not only do Dutch installers order more online, they also get more of their orders delivered instead of picking them up at the wholesaler. Based on 2019 figures, 73% of Dutch installers had their order delivered whereas 27% picked it up. In that same year, 56% of installers in the UK had their products delivered as opposed to 44% that picked up their order at the wholesaler.

Wholesalers dominant

The role of the specialised wholesalers is still very dominant in all countries. It is the highest in Poland (99%), and the lowest in the UK (90%). 

However, the USP report does show a clear shift in purchasing channels. In Germany, 45% of the installers buy directly from manufacturers. After the specialised wholesaler, this is the largest channel. The same goes for France and the Netherlands.

Further information here.

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