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Boom is Followed by Slump in Biomass Boilers

The EU countries’ desired phase-out of gas and oil heating systems sent biomass boiler sales through the roof from 2019 to 2022, with average annual growth of 36% in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France and Italy. But the boom appears to be over as 2023 begins, according to a study by Interconnection Consulting.

This year, the market for biomass heating boilers is expected to decline 19% in the markets studied. The rise in pellet prices made pellet biomass boilers, which account for nearly two-thirds of the market, unattractive to many. In this segment, therefore, the decline will be as much as 24.7%. In addition to the sharp rise in pellet prices, discussions in Europe about the climate friendliness of pellet biomass boilers also contributed to the decline in demand. “Finally, the active promotion of heat pumps in the States also leads to a decline in the biomass boiler segment,” as Yuliia Hrebenkova, the author of the study explains.

Replacement Is Most Important Purchase Motive

After the pellet biomass boilers, which are mainly used for low required heating capacity (between 20 and 400 kilowatts), wood biomass boilers are designed for larger heating capacity of up to 3 megawatts. Due to the higher prices, these account for around 34% of the shares in value, of the entire biomass boiler market. Especially in the segment of boilers with low heating capacity, sales are strongly dependent on the price of the fuel, explains Hrebenkova. “When wood in Austria fell in price by 25%, sales of such boilers increased by 12.4%.” Nine out of ten biomass boilers are sold due to the replacement of old heating systems. This segment continues to ensure the growth of the industry. From 2023 to 2026, sales of biomass boilers are expected to increase by an annual average of 3.9% in the countries studied.

Germany Far Ahead

Within the five countries in the study, Germany is by far the largest sales market with a share of 57.2%. Between 2020 and 2022, Germany experienced a boom in demand for biomass boilers. During these years, sales increased by an average of 57.4% per year. The government played a major role in boosting demand with attractive subsidies. In comparison, France only has a share of 16.5%. There, more use is made of electric heat pumps for replacement. Between 2020 and 2022, the country recorded an increase of only 12.5% per year. In Italy, too, biomass boilers only enjoy a niche existence. There, 80% of energy consumption is still met by fossil fuels. In 2022, only 9606 biomass boilers were sold in Italy, which meant a decrease of 17.9%. The Austrian market developed with 30% growth per year between 2020 and 2022, while the Swiss biomass boiler market performed a bit weaker with a growth of 16.5 p.a.. The top 5 suppliers generate a market share of 41.7% in value and 38.1% in volume in the five countries studied.

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Europe's Markets for Baby Products Are far From Unified

On the occasion of the Children and Youth Fair, Interconnection Consulting, a leading market research institute for baby products, has released its latest study titled “Customer Insight – Baby Products in Europe 2023.”

The study reveals that despite the geographical proximity and cultural ties in Europe, significant differences exist in brand awareness and preferences for 1st- and 2nd-hand baby strollers and car safety seats. While Italy leads in brand awareness for strollers, France has the highest brand awareness for safety seats.

This study is based on a comprehensive survey of 1,000 parents from Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Spain, focusing on baby strollers and safety seats.

Brand Awareness for Strollers is Highest in Italy at 66%

A key finding of the study is that brand awareness for baby strollers and safety seats varies significantly across different countries. Notably, in Italy, brand awareness for strollers is with 66% the highest, while it is lowest in the United Kingdom. The brand Chicco has achieved the highest brand awareness in Italy with impressive free recall values of 43.0% and also leads in France, with a free recall of 32.0%. In contrast, top stroller brands in the UK only have a free recall value of up to 16.5%.

A similar pattern emerges for safety seats, with brand awareness in Italy, Spain, and the UK, being lower than that of strollers. France leads with the highest brand awareness at 69.0%, while the UK ranks last again.

Spain Leads in the Market for 2nd-Hand Strollers and Safety Seats

The study also highlights interesting differences in purchasing behavior and reasons for buying new or 2nd-hand baby products in different countries.

For example, the UK has the highest proportion of 1st-hand products (baby strollers 83.5%, safety seats 84.1%), while Spain leads in 2nd-hand strollers (31.2%) and safety seats (31.9%). In Spain, 41.4% of used strollers and 27.1% of used safety seats are given to parents by friends and relatives. In contrast, in Germany, parents primarily purchase 2nd-hand strollers and safety seats on online platforms like eBay.

The main reasons for buying new strollers and safety seats across all countries are higher product quality and novelty. For used products, cost savings, environmental considerations, and rejection of the disposable society are the primary factors.

The European Buyer of Baby Products is not in Sight

The study emphasizes that Europe still exhibits a variety of market differences in baby products and underscores that brand strategies must vary significantly in different countries. Companies operating in this sector should carefully consider regional preferences and brand awareness to successfully establish themselves in various European markets.

Panorea Kaskani, the author of the study, emphasized the relevance of these findings for businesses: “Our research shows that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for baby products in Europe. Brands need to be aware of how different the markets are and adjust their strategies accordingly to succeed.”

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At the IC Impulsworkhop "Sales Optimization" we appreciate not only the practical relevance, but also the eloquent language and the perfect rhetoric. The most important benefit for our company was the sales pipeline. Adrian Capellarie (Head of Sales Admonter Holzindustrie)

Deutscher Holzfertigbau Verband

Interconnection provides us with the prefabricated house study a plausible and veritable data basis for the analysis of the actual situation in the prefabricated house market and beyond for the assessment of the future market development. We are happy to use this interpreted data for our lobbying and everyday work.

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The prefabricated housing study by Interconnection Consulting shows a real picture of the actual market situation and forms a valuable basis for our strategic decisions.

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The most important benefit of the Impulsworkshop "sales optimization" was in my view the procedure of the definition of strengths and the entire sales process. Mr. Berger is very competent and professional. Fabian Freund (Sales Manager, Kontron Austria)

Österreichs Personaldienstleister

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