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HVAC installers and electrical installers seem to work in developing markets

A lot of legislation has been created towards a low carbon economy. In the EU energy 2050 roadmap, a huge cut in carbon emissions is a centrepiece of this plan. Electricity will play a central role in the low carbon economy. Partially replacing fossil fuels for heating will be a necessity, because heating & cooling is responsible for a big share of the carbon emissions. In order to facilitate this transition, many HVAC manufactures are now diversifying their product portfolio or investing more in their existing Electrical heating solutions. One only has to look at the products on display at the ISH earlier this year to see this trend. Companies like Viessmann presented decentralized electrical heating solutions, with a combination of heat pumps, PV and storage capacity. This trend will also affect the installers. Traditionally, the HVAC business was the realm of the HVAC installer and the Electrical installation the realm of the Electrical installers.

The installation market is developing

Throughout the last years though, USP Marketing Consultancy has seen a trend (in some countries) towards all-round installation companies. These companies perform both HVAC and Electrical installation jobs. These could be HVAC installation companies who also started doing Electrical jobs or vice versa. Instead of the 2 traditional target groups (HVAC and Electrical) we now can identify 3.

Drivers for this trend

There are a number of drivers for this trend. First of all, there is a trend towards a lean construction processes where fewer parties are involved in a project. Stakeholders prefer working with total solution providers, in this case working with one installation company for all installation jobs (both HVAC and Electrical). Furthermore, building installations are becoming more complex and ‘smarter’, which increases the complexity and requires a higher knowledge level from the installers not only for their part of the installation, but of the total installation (HVAC and Electrical). Finally, the push towards all electric is an important driver as well.

What does this mean for manufacturers?

For manufacturers of HVAC products and manufacturers of Electrical products, this will be an important trend to monitor. It creates opportunities, but only if this ‘new’ target group is understood well.

As a first step, USP Marketing Consultancy is tracking the share of HVAC installers who also conduct electrical installation jobs and the share of Electrical installers who also do HVAC jobs. We are able to do so via our multi-client studies targeting the HVAC installers (4,800 telephone interviews with installers each year in 6 countries) and the Electrical installers (also 4,800 telephone interviews with installers each year in 7 countries).

HVAC installers are doing electrical jobs

In the picture above, the share and trend of HVAC installers also doing electrical jobs is portrait. Again, there are significant differences per country. In Germany, only 13% of the HVAC installers also conduct electrical installation jobs. This has been stable over the last couple of years. One of the reasons is the protected and well defined profession of the HVAC installers (Meister specialization). In the Netherlands, almost half of all HVAC installers also do electrical jobs. Over a 2 year time period this has grown from 36% to 44%. In France, the highest growth of HVAC installers doing electrical jobs can be seen. Over a 2 year time period the share of HVAC installers also doing electrical jobs has risen from 9% Q4 2014 to 23% in Q4 2016.