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Usage of professional and manufacturer magazines among plumbers and HVAC installers continues to decline, but not as fast as some years ago

Over the last years, installers and plumbers slowly but surely made the shift from traditional media sources to new sources of information like internet, websites, newsletters and social media. For many manufacturers the question arises whether it is still worth advertising in the traditional channels. As a part of the European Mechanical Installation Monitor, in Q4 2020, we focused on the media orientation and usage among plumbers and HVAC installers in Europe, including usage of traditional media.

The biggest drop in usage of traditional sources of information was between 2016 and 2018

The average data for all 6 countries in the European Installation monitor shows that the biggest shift from traditional media usage towards other sources of information was made in the period between 2016 and 2018.

The results from 2020 show further decline in the number of users of the three types of traditional media we have measured, but the drop is not that large. In the case of manufacturer magazines it even looks like the share of users is stabilising around 50% of the market.

Professional magazines and newspapers show the biggest decline. They have lost 44% of the audience they had in 2016, resulting in merely 2 out of 5 installers still reading professional magazines and newspapers in 2020.

It is interesting to mention that regardless of the development of the digital media and the high share of users of digital product documentation files (on average around 80% ), the printed version of the product documentation files still remain very popular among installers.

Usage of professional and manufacturer magazines among plumbers and HVAC installers continues to decline, but not as fast as some years ago

European Mechanical Installation Monitor Q4 2020 - USP Marketing Consultancy

The developments regarding traditional media usage differ per country

There are a couple of countries in which serious declines in the usage of some of those traditional media sources can be seen since 2018.

The professional magazines and newspapers have lost readers in Poland (-15%), the Netherlands (-11%), and Germany (-10%) mainly. In general, professional magazines are read least in Poland (22%) and France (29%).

The number of users of printed documentation files has declined in Germany (-15%), the Netherlands (-14%) and the UK (-7%). 

The readers of manufacturer’s magazines have dropped in Germany (-8%) and the UK (-7%). Manufacturer’s magazines are read the least in Poland (36%) and the UK (41%).

Germany, which was one of the markets with the highest share of  traditional media users, is now in line with the rest of the countries, due to the biggest decline in users of the three traditional media sources since 2018.

To conclude

The usage of traditional media such as professional magazines, manufacturer magazines and printed product documentation files has declined, but not as much as in the period from 2016 to 2018. At this moment it seems that the situation is stabilising around the current share of users for each of these sources. Although not among the most important and useful channels for the installers, the traditional media still play a certain role in keeping the professionals up to date and will need to be part of multichannel marketing communication. Companies, however, will need to make decisions on how to spend their communication budgets, taking into account the trends and the country-specific results regarding media usage.