Amazon not yet seen as a potential purchase channel by European HVAC installers and plumbers

Overall the majority of the HVAC installers and plumbers are not very open towards buying their products at Amazon. In most of the investigated countries more than 70% of the HVAC installers and plumbers would not buy professional materials at Amazon. The most open towards Amazon are the HVAC installers and plumbers in the UK. These are some of the findings of the Q4 2017 report of the European Mechanical Installation Monitor, themed: "Future role of wholesale." The results of this research of USP Marketing Consultancy are based on 1,200 successful interviews with HVAC installers & plumbers in six European countries.

German market most traditional

Germany is one of the most traditional countries in this research with regards to loyalty and importance of the traditional wholesale. The position of traditional wholesale in Germany is very strong, but direct buying at manufacturers is also slowly rising according to our previous report of the European Mechanical Installation Monitor. Buying at general online players, however, is not yet developed much and the attitude towards buying at Amazon confirms that. About 71% of German HVAC installers and plumbers indicate they would not consider Amazon as a purchase channel for professional products, pointing out the difficulties to return the products, the perceived lack of knowledge and expertise regarding plumbing and HVAC products and the lack of personal contact as main reasons for that.

Divided attitude in Poland

The Polish HVAC installers are divided. One third of the installers would consider buying at Amazon, and one third of them would not. Thus, it will be interesting to see how this will develop in the coming years, as after the UK, Poland appears to be the second country with a high share of installers having a positive attitude towards Amazon as a channel for purchasing professional products.

 Most open towards buying at Amazon in the UK

In the UK, the highest share of HVAC installers and plumbers open towards Amazon as a purchase channel for professional products can be seen - 42% would consider using it for that purpose. The reasons for that include cheaper prices, fast delivery and good experiences with ordering at Amazon. As a whole when talking about purchase channels, the openness to switch between channels of HVAC installers and plumbers in the UK is one of the highest in Europe.

Reasons for not seeing Amazon as a purchase channel

The main reasons for not considering Amazon as a purchase channel differ per country, but the most important and most often mentioned ones are  the lack of expertise and personal contact, things that installers still highly appreciate as unique features of traditional wholesale. The expertise remains an important aspect for the installers, as even when they decide to buy online, this is more often at specialised web shops than at general online stores.

Conclusion

The HVAC installers and plumbers in Europe believe that pure online players are the biggest threat for the future of the wholesale. Amazon however is only considered as a purchase channel by a minority of the European HVAC installers and plumbers. Although HVAC installers believe traditional wholesale is still very important, the online stores could be an important threat for, especially if traditional wholesale starts to perform worse, leading to a decrease in satisfaction.  If online players at the same time come up with better performance and conditions with regards to payment terms, discounts, deliveries and stock, they would really have a chance to grow their market share. For the next couple of years however, it is expected that traditional wholesale will remain the most important purchase channel for the installers. If traditional wholesale can keep performance high and customers satisfied, the will maintain their leading position in the market.