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A new study conducted across six EU countries has found that that UK HAVC installers and plumbers are more open to buying products from Amazon than their European counterparts.
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, ‘Future role of wholesale.’ The results of this research by USP Marketing Consultancy are based on 1200 interviews with HVAC installers and plumbers in six European countries.
Those in Europe believe that pure online players are the biggest threat for the future of the wholesale. Amazon, however, is only considered as a competitor by a small group of those interviewed. USP Marketing Consultancy asked the following question, “If Amazon would start to sell HVAC products to professionals in your country and offer terms that are comparable with traditional wholesale, would you consider buying at Amazon?”
Installers least open towards buying at Amazon were in Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands, with 60% of the HVAC installers and plumbers expressing reticence. The German market was found to be the most traditional with regards to loyalty and importance of the traditional wholesale. 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.
Those in Poland were more divided on the issue. One third of the installers would consider buying at Amazon, and one third of them would not, making Poland the second country with a high share of installers having a positive attitude towards Amazon as a channel for purchasing professional products.
The UK shows the highest share of HVAC installers and plumbers open towards Amazon as a purchase channel for professional products, as 42% would consider using it for that purpose. The reasons for that include cheaper prices, fast delivery and good experiences with ordering at Amazon. When talking about purchase channels, UK installers exhibit the most open attitudes to switch between channels in Europe.
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, because even when they decide to buy online, this is more often at specialised web shops than at general online stores.
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. The study suggests that although HVAC installers believe traditional wholesale is still very important, the online stores could be an important threat, 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 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.