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HVAC wholesalers ready for total installation companies

The majority of European HVAC wholesalers have also been selling electrical products for a long time. Most HVAC installers in the Netherlands (80%) and Germany (73%) buy their materials from a wholesaler that sells materials for both HVAC and electrical installations. The share of HVAC installers in France and Poland who do the same is much smaller, at 43% and 32% respectively. These differences are not directly related to the shares of installers for whom this is most interesting, those who offer services in both fields and who can purchase all HVAC and electrical installation materials from one shop (one-stop shopping). However, it is expected that the group of installation companies doing both HVAC and electrical jobs will continue to grow. And the demand for {or: advantage of) wholesalers selling materials for both HVAC and electrical installations, is expected grow along with it. These are some of the findings in the European Mechanical Installation Monitor Q4 2017 report with the theme ‘Future role of the wholesale’ (a research of USP Marketing Consultancy among 1,200 HVAC installers and plumbers by phone in six European countries).

Four out of five Dutch  and three quarters of German HVAC installers buy their materials at a wholesaler that also sells products for electrical installations. With the strong position of Technische Unie in the Netherlands among the HVAC installers and plumbers it is not surprising, because electrical products have been on the shelves for a long time at Technische Unie. They also position themselves as the supplier of general installation materials.  The same can be said about Germany, where HVAC wholesalers like GC Gruppe have offered electrical installation products for a long time.

Regardless of the fact that electrical installation products can be found at the wholesalers where the German HVAC installers and plumbers shop, the two groups of professionals (electrical and HVAC) remain strictly separated in Germany, and the situation seems quite stable as on average about 15% of the HVAC installers report to be performing electrical installation activities as well. Together with Poland this is lowest involvement in electrical activities by HVAC installers of all 6 countries.  The situation in the Netherlands is very different –  41% of the HVAC companies confirm offering electrical installation services as well. This is the highest share among the 6 countries. 

Mixed image in Belgium and the UK

The share of HVAC installers and plumbers in Belgium and the UK buying at a wholesaler where electrical products have always been in the assortment is lower than in Germany and the Netherlands. In the UK this is 60% and in Belgium this is 56%. The share of HVAC installers and plumbers buying at a wholesaler that started selling electrical products recently is 9% and 14%, respectively. However there is also a quarter of the installers in Belgium and the UK who buy at a wholesaler where no electrical products are sold.

Selling electrical products at the HVAC wholesale has not really taken off yet in France and Poland

It seems that French and especially Polish wholesalers are more specialized. The share of installers buying at a wholesaler where no electrical products are being sold is the highest in Poland, and it does not really seem that there are signs of big changes in the status quo. This is partially because of the traditional split between HVAC and electrical installation which has existed for a long time in this country. Only 14% of the HVAC installers in Poland report to be working with electrical installations as well. In this respect Poland and Germany are quite similar, with the difference that the German wholesaler would probably be more ready to fulfil any needs of supplying electrical products, than the Polish wholesaler. 

Some French HVAC wholesalers have recently started with selling electrical products, and vice versa – electrical wholesalers start offering HVAC products, obviously becoming ready to meet the needs of the total (all round?) installer. On average one quarter of the French HVAC installers and plumbers perform electrical installation activities as well. 

Why is this important?

Wholesalers that  sell electrical products have advantages for total installation companies, because this makes it more convenient for installers for one-stop shopping. Looking at the share of HVAC installers and plumbers conducting electrical jobs in Europe, there are differences per country. In the Netherlands, it is clear that already 4 out of 10 HVAC installers and plumbers are also conducting electrical jobs. In Belgium, France and the UK this is 21% to 25% and this is the lowest in Germany (15%) and Poland (14%). The group of European HVAC installers and plumbers that are conducting electrical jobs has increased over the past few years and is expected to increase even more in the future. The trend more companies to offer all round installation services is also to be seen among the electrical installers, although to a lower degree.


The majority of the HVAC wholesalers has always been selling both HVAC and electrical products. This broad assortment makes one-stop shopping possible for the growing share of HVAC installers who also perform electrical installation services,. Especially the wholesalers in Germany and the Netherlands seem to be ready for the total installation companies, because many of them have been selling electrical products for a long time. The wholesalers in Poland seem to lag behind, but at this moment there is also no strong need for that. With the new hybrid solutions in the market, smart and connected products and the goals of the governments to minimise the fossil fuel usage and shift to all-electric, the strict lines between HVAC and electrical installations have started to blur. The question remains whether the wholesalers are also ready to meet the new demand from the market, not only with products on the shelves, but also with knowledge and advice.